Make Kidney Screening Program International, Experts Say

New York, NY
April 11, 2007

Officials at the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) are asking other countries to adopt the highly successful U.S.-based early evaluation program that has already changed thousands of American lives, according to a lecture to be presented from 3:30-5:30 pm today during the Late Breaking News session held here at the NKF Spring Clinical Meetings.

The NKF’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) screens Americans most at risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), including people with a family history of CKD, and those with high blood pressure or diabetes. To date, the program has more than 90,000 participants, and adds more than 2,500 each month.

“KEEP is a highly successful program that has generated valuable data and increased awareness of kidney disease among thousands of Americans,” says Allan Collins, MD, NKF President and presenter of the KEEP lecture during session #265. “We want to bring the same awareness and capability to other countries.”

In the U.S. alone, 9 of every 10 KEEP participants have at least one test result that falls outside normal range, and more than 6 out of 10 are diagnosed with at least one condition – such as hypertension or diabetes – that they didn’t know they had. Importantly, the vast majority of KEEP participants have doctors, and have seen their doctors within the previous year, indicating KEEP provides a valuable service even to patients who seek out medical care.

“KEEP engages primary care providers with a clinical action plan to enhance care of CKD, diabetes and high blood pressure,” says Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, NKF Chief Medical Officer. “There’s nothing else like it in the world. Why not extend the same service to other countries?”

An international KEEP program would enable health officials to test more people, enabling doctors to intervene at earlier stages of CKD and its related diseases, when treatment works best, in hundreds of thousands of new patients. The biggest challenge, Dr. Vassalotti notes, has been initial funding – but expanding KEEP may help prove the case for future KEEP funding by employers, health plans, and governments.

Along with spreading awareness and facilitating treatment of CKD and its related diseases, a global KEEP will produce vast amounts of new data, which will help develop a global screening agenda and stimulate the formation of local registries.

For each country that wants to participate, NKF licenses the KEEP program, and does training, adaptation, and data coordination, among other services. The program launched last year in Japan, and Australia and the UK have expressed commitment to proceed.

“Already, Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes, or KDIGO, which is managed by NKF, is emerging as a global force for improving patient outcomes, and provides an excellent opportunity for collaborations that will replicate the U.S. experience,” says Dr. Vassalotti. “Let’s bring that same success to other shores.”

To learn more about KDIGO visit www.kdigo.org. For more information about the National Kidney Foundation, KEEP or the Spring Clinical Meetings visit www.kidney.org