In this article, we maintain that the management of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is best provided in a clinic setting that integrates nephrologic expertise, patient education, and comprehensive supportive services. Our experience with a CKD clinic in an urban academic setting is described. As a way to assess and quantify the impact of our clinic on clinical outcomes, we have analyzed our results in terms of 2 variables: presence of permanent access at the time of dialysis initiation and impact on renal function as assessed by calculated glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The number of clinic visits was taken as an index of comprehensive renal care before dialysis initiation. Individuals who started dialysis with a functioning permanent access had been seen in our clinic more frequently than those seen less frequently (20 ± 3.5 and 4.4 ± 2.1 visits, respectively, P < .005). The impact on renal function was analyzed in a group of 80 unselected patients stratified into 3 stages based on the recently published National Kidney Foundation Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI) guidelines: stage III (mean GFR 39 ± 1.5 mL/min, n = 21), stage IV (mean GFR 21 ± 0.6 mL/min, n = 46), and stage V (mean GFR 12 ± .76 mL/min, n = 13). Provision of comprehensive renal care in conjunction with anemia management using weekly injections of erythropoietin subcutaneously resulted in stabilization of GFR in patients with stages IV and V over a period of 15 months of follow-up evaluation. In patients with stage III CKD, GFR decreased over the initial period of follow-up evaluation (first few months), and to a lesser extent by the end of follow-up evaluation (15 mo). Further studies are underway to discern the factor(s) underlying the overall clinic effect versus a beneficial effect of anemia correction on GFR. Our data suggests that stabilization of GFR is a goal that can be accomplished with comprehensive renal care provided in an organized clinic setting.
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