Regional variation in use of exogenous and endogenous glomerular filtration rate (GFR) markers in Sweden
Background. Markers of renal function (glomerular filtration rate (GFR)) are frequently used in the Swedish health care. GFR is usually estimated based on plasma creatinine concentration, but plasma cystatin C concentration, creatinine clearance, iohexol clearance, and 51Cr-EDTA clearance are also used. These markers are all part of the daily patient care, but there is little specific information on the clinical use of these markers. The aim of this study was to compare the use of these various GFR markers in different parts of Sweden and potential changes over time.
Methods. Retrospective study using questionnaires to collect information for the years 2006–2009 divided per county on the specific use of GFR markers with type of test reports.
Results. Plasma/serum creatinine concentration (96%) is by far the dominating GFR marker in Sweden, while cystatin C concentration (3.5%), creatinine clearance (0.1%), iohexol clearance (0.1%), and 51Cr-EDTA clearance (0.1%) are less frequently used. The use of GFR markers, including creatinine, continues to increase on a national level with the exception of creatinine clearance and 51Cr-EDTA clearance. There were considerable variations between different counties in the use of GFR markers and the type of test reports that the laboratories provided.
Conclusions. The inter-county variations of GFR markers used in Sweden are large and indicate that savings associated with optimized test utilization in this regard could be substantial. Regional habits and traditions are likely to influence the variations in GFR marker use.
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