Advocacy and Public Policy Challenges by the Numbers

Overview of the Kidney Disease Population

  • 73 million American adults (1 in 3) is currently at risk for developing kidney disease
  • 26 million American adults (1 in 9) are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD), although most don’t know it
  • 2.9 million Medicare patients are estimated to have CKD, but not kidney failure
  • 636,905 Americans have irreversible kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and require dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive
  • 450,602 ESRD patients receive dialysis at least 3 times per week to replace kidney function
  • 186,303 Americans live with a functioning kidney transplant
  • 88,638 Americans with ESRD die annually
  • 17,106 Americans received a kidney transplant in 2014
  • 101,189 Americans were on the kidney transplant waiting list as of Oct. 8, 2015
  • 38% of ESRD patients had a primary diagnosis of diabetes, the leading cause of ESRD
  • 25% of ESRD patients had a primary diagnosis of hypertension, the second leading cause of ESRD
  • The third and fourth leading causes of kidney failure in the U.S. are glomerulonephritis, an inflammatory disease of the kidneys, and polycystic kidney disease.
  • 33% of ESRD patients were cared for by a nephrologist the year prior to their kidney failure
  • 75.5% of New ESRD patients apply for Medicare 

Costs of Kidney Disease in the United States

  • $58 billion Annual Medicare costs to treat people with CKD
  • $29 billion Annual cost of the Medicare ESRD program   
  • $125,967 Medicare spending for kidney transplant per patient in the first year
  • $86,592 Medicare spending on a dialysis patient, per-year
  • $24,438 Medicare spending for a functioning transplant patient, per-year (after the first year)
  • $3,599 Medicare spending on immunosuppressive drugs, per year 

Updated October 2015

Sources of Facts and Statistics:
United States Renal Data System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Health, United Network of Organ Sharing and Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, CDC National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics