Background: There is a 3-fold risk of developing end stage kidney disease in Non-Hispanic African Americans compared to Non-Hispanic White Americans (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), one of the fundamental algorithms for coordinating treatment for kidney disease which factors in age, race, gender, and levels of creatinine, may pose an issue in this vulnerable population. Currently African Americans receive a correction factor between 1.21 and 1.16 to their eGFR to adjusting the value higher, potentially impacting appropriate kidney disease classification, and delaying beneficial interventions (National Kidney Foundation, 2020).
Methods: A systematic literature search of four databases was completed. Eligibility criteria included 1) published in a peer reviewed journal, 2) English language, 3) the use of race correction in calculating eGFR, and 4) a quantitative study design. A total of 47 articles were screened with 17 selected for final review. The Johns-Hopkins Nursing Evidence - Based Practice evidence guide was then used to rate the strength and quality of the evidence.
Results: Early evidence of the unreliability of race based eGFR equations emerged in 2008, and the body of evidence continues to grow. Recent studies have found eGFR calculated with no race corrections correlate best with directly measured iothalmate GFR in black patients (Zelnick et al., 2021), and that a potential 1,066,026 Black Americans may be reclassified to a more severe stage of CKD (Bragg-Gresham et al., 2021). Use of the race correction in GFR equations has been poorly supported in studies conducted in Africa and Brazil. For those with HIV, an accurate eGFR is doubly important yet all eGFR equations have marked variability. Some medical facilities have successfully updated to calculating eGFR without the racial coefficient (Shi et al., 2021).
Conclusion: Nurses should be aware of the implications of using race correction in eGFR equations, educate their patients on its use, and advocate for those near threshold targets to ensure equitable and timely access to appropriate kidney disease interventions.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)
College of Nursing
Utt, Leah E., "Race-Based Adjustment in eGFR Algorithms: An Integrative Literature Review" (2021). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1037.