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‘This is a landmark event for those with kidney disease’

January 12, 2016 — 

An international team of researchers, including a scientist from the University of Manitoba, has validated a new, online tool that can accurately predict the risk of kidney failure in patients with chronic kidney disease.

The Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium, based at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, has validated an equation that can accurately predict the risk of dialysis for patients with kidney disease within their next two to five years. The equation was originally developed by a team led by Navdeep Tangri [MD/04] of the University of Manitoba, and has now been proven to be effective internationally.

The study—Multinational Assessment of Accuracy of Equations for Predicting Risk of Kidney Failure: A Meta-analysis findings—was released in the January 12 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Navdeep Tangri [MD/04]

Navdeep Tangri [MD/04]

“This is a landmark event for those with kidney disease,” says Tangri, associate professor (internal medicine) in the College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences.  “We found that a simple equation that used only four variables that are easily collected by doctors was extremely accurate and could be applied easily in every patient encounter.”

The equation measures the amount of waste circulating in a patient’s bloodstream to determine the likelihood of kidney failure within a two to five year period. The consortium validated the tool using data from more than 700,000 people in 30 countries worldwide, making it the most reliable way of determining the patient’s risk ever created.

“We wanted to do a definitive validation. We didn’t want to leave any room for questions or compromises or any population that wasn’t addressed. This is while we waited until we achieved this end result,” Tangri explains. He has been working on the project since 2011 and says he’s quite confident this equation is the one to be used when people want to predict the risk of dialysis in patients with kidney disease.

It is estimated that more than 20 million people in Canada and the U.S. are affected by kidney disease with more than 660,000 experiencing kidney failure requiring either dialysis to mechanically clean the blood or a kidney transplant.

The risk calculator—which is now live online—will be a major benefit for doctors in helping their patients manage the condition more effectively and subsequently improve their quality of life.

“This allows doctors to identify the patients who are at the highest risk, so they get seen earlier and more aggressively where the lower risk patients will be triaged later,” says Tangri. “So it’s early and appropriate care.”

Already, the equation is being integrated into clinical care and health policy in Canada and the U.S.  Starting in April 2016, the province of Ontario will be basing their reimbursement for kidney disease clinics based on the risks calculated by the equation.

“For Ontario, this is going to lead to substantial savings, in the order of millions of dollars,” says Tangri, “in addition to better patient care and outcomes.”


Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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