Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pros and Cons of Different GFR tests

This is part 3 of our series looking into the GFR, or glomerular filtration rate. I believe that the GFR is the most reliable test when it comes to estimating how much kidney function one has. If you missed or want to review any item in discussed in the previous parts, click these links for part 1 or part 2 of the GFR series.

Of the three common methods I mentioned in part 1, here are the pros and cons of each.

METHOD 1: GFR Estimate via Serum Creatinine and MDRD equation

- very simple, quick and easy to do
- only need single blood test to calculate GFR
- provides a good estimation of kidney function is made

- generalizes people into a number of categories
- GFR result may not always be accurate function of the kidney
METHOD 2: GFR estimation via 24-hour Urine Collection
- more accurate that calculating via creatinine and equations
- if done correctly, should give an accurate result of kidney function

- cumbersome; need to collect all urine for 24 hours
- results may be inaccurate because of inability to collect all samples
- results may be inaccurate because done incorrectly
METHOD 3: GFR estimation via Nuclear GFR
- very accurate
- quick and simple procedure

- more expensive than the other 2 methods
- exposure to radiation
So there you have it. A number of methods that may be used by your doctor to get an informed idea on how to better manage your health.

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