GFR estimation is complicated by a high incidence of non-steady-state serum creatinine concentrations at the emergency department

M S A Niemantsverdriet, T T Pieters 3, I E Hoefer, M C Verhaar, J A Joles, W W van Solinge, W M Tiel Groenestege, S Haitjema, M B Rookmaaker

Published: December 2021


Background: Acquiring a reliable estimate of glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) at the emergency department (ED) is important for clinical management and for dosing renally excreted drugs. However, renal function formulas such as CKD-EPI can give biased results when serum creatinine (SCr) is not in steady-state because the assumption that urinary creatinine excretion is constant is then invalid. We assessed the extent of this by analysing variability in SCr in patients who visited the ED of a tertiary care centre.

Methods: Data from ED visits at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands between 2012 and 2019 were extracted from the Utrecht Patient Oriented Database. Three measurement time points were defined for each visit: last SCr measurement before visit as baseline (SCr-BL), first measurement during visit (SCr-ED) and a subsequent measurement between 6 and 24 hours during admission (SCr-H1). Non-steady-state SCr was defined as exceeding the Reference Change Value (RCV), with 15% decrease or 18% increase between successive SCr measurements. Exceeding the RCV was deemed as a significant change.

Results: Of visits where SCr-BL and SCr-ED were measured (N = 47,540), 28.0% showed significant change in SCr. Of 17,928 visits admitted to the hospital with a SCr-H1 after SCr-ED, 27,7% showed significant change. More than half (55%) of the patients with SCr values available at all three timepoints (11,054) showed at least one significant change in SCr over time.

Conclusion: One third of ED visits preceded and/or followed by creatinine measurement show non-stable serum creatinine concentration. At the ED automatically calculated eGFR should therefore be interpreted with great caution when assessing kidney function.

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