By Kerry Willis, PhD, NKF Chief Scientific Officer
Over 450,000 Americans with kidney failure depend on dialysis to stay alive, and since 1999 survival rates have continued to increase among this highly vulnerable population, as summarized in the United States Renal Data System 2014 Annual Data Report (USRDS 2014 ADR).[i] This is a significant achievement made possible through the ongoing collaborative efforts of healthcare professionals, academics and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), who work together to make improvements in the care of individuals living with kidney failure.
In 1995, NKF began the development of what would become the first broadly accepted clinical practice guidelines in the care and management of kidney disease, now known as KDOQI—Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative. The first guidelines were published in 1997, and today there are 13 guidelines, which have made a major difference in the quality of care for kidney patients in the United States and around the world. USRDS 2014 ADR data shows that declines in mortality began just two short years after the first guidelines were developed. Falling death rates are seen across patients on the transplant wait list, those never on the wait list and those returning from a failed kidney transplant. Declining mortality due to heart disease can be attributed, in part, to widespread practice implementation of a KDOQI heart disease guideline (2005) and vascular access guidelines published in 1997 and updated in 2006.
Despite these great improvements, NKF is aware that much more needs to be done for patients living with kidney failure. Additionally, CKD related mortality must also be addressed for patients at all stages. This is why NKF continues to advocate to raise awareness and call attention to the need for more research and programs to support those living with CKD. You can help us fulfill our mission and further drive down deaths due to CKD by calling on your Members of Congress to support increases in federal funding for kidney disease research and programs.
[i] United States Renal Data System, 2014 Annual Data Report: Epidemiology of Kidney Disease in the United States. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD, 2014. Available at: http://www.usrds.org/adr.aspx