The best treatment for chronic kidney disease (CKD) is early intervention. However, 90% of Americans with kidney diseases are unaware (1). For nearly a decade, ASN along with the broader kidney care community, has advocated for federal support of routine screening to identify kidney diseases and intervene earlier to stop or slow progression. One of the main goals of these advocacy efforts has been for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to release official screening guidelines for CKD.
An independent, volunteer panel of physicians that offers evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive guidelines, USPSTF first proposed a research plan for CKD screening in 2012 but ultimately recommended against the formation of official guidelines (2). But advocacy efforts continued, and, in 2022, USPSTF decided to reconsider its 2012 decision with the release of a new proposed evidence review for CKD screening with an open public comment period (3).
Following a rigorous development process including public comment, USPSTF released its Final Research Plan for Chronic Kidney Disease Screening (4) on June 12, 2023. Among the changes made to the final plan were clarifications of the targeted screening population and the addition of a sub-key question on the effectiveness of repeat screening for CKD.
Evidence shows that the greatest opportunity for CKD screening comes from targeting those with CKD risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes. Despite this evidence, USPSTF insisted on the exclusion of studies in which patients were selected due to preexisting conditions in both the Draft and Final Research Plans. ASN maintains that the exclusion of such studies would lead to an incomplete and misleading assessment of CKD.
Shortly after its release of the Final Research Plan, ASN and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) released a joint statement acknowledging the plan as a step in the right direction while reiterating concern that the proposed research plan continues to focus on the screening of asymptomatic, low-risk individuals (5). ASN and NKF expressed concern that USPSTF overstates current clinical practice guidelines for screening in hypertensive populations, which list albuminuria testing as optional. In the case of individuals with diabetes, the statement also documents that only 40% of those individuals receive annual albuminuria screening (6).
While ASN is confident that the evidence will ultimately demonstrate the value of CKD screening, ASN continues to urge USPSTF to expand its approach and ultimately increase the diagnosis of those with or at most risk of CKD.
Moyer VA; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for chronic kidney disease: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med 2012; 157:567–570. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-157-8-201210160-00533
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Chronic kidney disease: Screening. July 7, 2023. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/draft-update-summary/chronic-kidney-disease-screening
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Final Research Plan. Chronic kidney disease: Screening. July 13, 2023. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/document/final-research-plan/chronic-kidney-disease-screening
ASN and NKF joint statement on the USPSTF final research. July 19, 2023. https://www.kidney.org/news/joint-statement-asn-and-nkf-uspstf-final-research-plan-ckd
National Committee for Quality Assurance. Kidney Health Evaluation for Patients With Diabetes (KED). https://www.ncqa.org/hedis/measures/kidney-health-evaluation-for-patients-with-diabetes/
Josephson MA. Letter to Drs. Mangione, Barry, and Nicholson, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. February 15, 2023. https://www.asn-online.org/policy/webdocs/02.15.23.USPSTF.Letter.pdf