Nationwide data highlight encouraging trends, 'staggering' costs of ESRD

Washington, DC (August 9, 2007) Recent progress in the prevention and treatment of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the United States give reason for "cautious optimism," but skyrocketing costs are a major concern, according to a Special Article in the October Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Drs. Robert Foley and Allan J. Collins of the United States Renal Data System (USRDS) and University of Minnesota summarize key findings from the 2006 USRDS Annual Data Report. The USRDS update assembles the most recent nationwide data on the incidence, treatment, and outcomes of ESRD permanent loss of kidney function requiring "renal replacement therapy" (dialysis or kidney transplantation).

"The new update describes successes, failures, and challenges for the future," comments Dr. Foley. "For example, improvements in survival expectations and increased use of fistulas for hemodialysis represent progress. In contrast, ever-increasing numbers of new patients with ESRD tend to suggest that preventive care and health policy practices have been less than optimal."

In 2004, the most recent year for which complete data were available, 104,364 Americans (approximately 0.03 percent of the population) started dialysis or received a kidney transplant. This represented nearly a one percent decline in renal replacement therapy, compared with the previous year.

The decline is especially encouraging at a time when type 2 diabetes mellitus, one of the major risk factors for kidney disease, has reached epidemic proportions. The data suggest that improvements in preventive care may be helping to reduce diabetes-related kidney disease, although several years of new data will be needed to confirm this trend.

Still, diabetes remains the leading cause of ESRD. In particular, rising rates of diabetic ESRD among younger African-American adults suggest "a looming public health crisis," according to the new report. An apparent incre

Contact: Shari Leventhal
American Society of Nephrology

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