Dipstick Proteinuria as a Screening Strategy to Identify Rapid Renal Decline Academic Article uri icon

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  • Rapid kidney function decline (RKFD) predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, but serial assessment of estimated GFR (eGFR) is not cost-effective for the general population. Here, we evaluated the predictive value of albuminuria and three thresholds of dipstick proteinuria to identify RKFD in 2,574 participants in a community-based prospective cohort study with a median of 7 years follow-up. Median change in eGFR was -0.78 ml/min per 1.73 m(2) per year; with 8.5% experiencing RKFD, defined as a >5% annual eGFR decline from baseline. Of those with RKFD, 65% advanced to a new CKD stage compared with 19% of those without RKFD. Dipstick protein ≥ 1 g/L was a stronger predictor of RKFD than albuminuria. Overall, 2.5% screened positive for dipstick protein ≥ 1 g/L at baseline; one of every 2.6 patients would have RKFD if all were followed with serial eGFR measurement. Overall, the screening strategy correctly identified progression status for 90.8% of patients, mislabeled 1.5% as RKFD, and missed 7.7% with eventual RKFD. Among those with risk factors (cardiovascular disease, age >60, diabetes, or hypertension), the probability of identifying RKFD from serial eGFR measurements increased from 13 to 44% after incorporating dipstick protein (≥ 1 g/L threshold). In summary, inexpensive screening with urine dipstick should allow primary care physicians to follow fewer patients with serial eGFR assessment but still identify those with rapid decline of kidney function.


  • Clark, William F
  • Macnab, Jennifer J
  • Sontrop, Jessica M
  • Jain, Arsh K
  • Moist, Louise
  • Salvadori, Marina
  • Suri, Rita
  • Garg, Amit

publication date

  • September 2011