Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 11 percent of the U.S. population. CKD is associated with advanced age, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease and most people with CKD have no symptoms.
Screening and monitoring patients before they have symptoms could lead to earlier interventions that improve health outcomes. Researchers at the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed published randomized, controlled trials to assess the benefits and harms of screening, monitoring, and treatment of early-stage CKD in asymptomatic adults.
The Task Force found no studies on the accuracy of screening for CKD and no studies that directly evaluated the effectiveness of screening. Treatment of early stages of CKD is targeted to associated conditions, primarily using medications to control hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
There is insufficient evidence that identification and early treatment of CKD in asymptomatic adults without these conditions results in improved outcomes. The researchers found few studies on early treatment of CKD in people without chronic diseases. While there were no studies on the direct harms of screening for CKD, potential harms include adverse effects from venopuncutre, psychological effects of labeling, and a false-positive result leading to unnecessary treatment and diagnostic interventions.
The Task Force concludes that there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine CKD screening for people without hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.