Age-standardized rates of diabetes mellitus (DM)-related complications, such as acute myocardial infarction, stroke or amputations, have decreased in recent years, but this was not associated with a clear reduction of the incidence of advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) requiring renal replacement therapy. The early detection of diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a key to reduce complications, morbidity and mortality. Consensus documents and clinical practice guidelines recommend referral of DM patients to nephrology when the estimated glomerular filtration rate falls below 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 or when albuminuria exceeds 300 mg/g urinary creatinine. Conceptually, it strikes as odd that patients with CKD are referred to the specialist caring for the prevention and treatment of CKD only when >70% of the functioning kidney mass has been lost. The increasing global health burden of CKD, driven in large part by DKD, the suboptimal impact of routine care on DKD outcomes as compared with other DM complications, the realization that successful therapy of CKD requires early diagnosis and intervention, the advances in earlier diagnosis of kidney injury and the recent availability of antidiabetic drugs with a renal mechanism of action and lack of hypoglycaemia risk, which additionally are cardio- and nephroprotective, all point towards a paradigm shift in the care for DM patients in which they should be referred earlier to nephrology as part of a coordinated and integrated care approach.
Diabetes mellitus; Diabetic kidney disease; Multidisciplinary care
Martínez-Castelao A, Soler MJ, Górriz Teruel JL, Navarro-González JF, Fernandez-Fernandez B, de Alvaro Moreno F, et al. Optimizing the timing of nephrology referral for patients with diabetic kidney disease. Clin Kidney J. 2021 Jan;14(1):5–8.
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