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BACKGROUND: A number of screening criteria, applied either at a single point in time or serially, can be used for the purpose of identifying individuals at risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). This study focused on two such criteria measured on a single occasion, proteinuria and renal insufficiency, and examined their prevalence in a sample representative of the adult U.S. non-institutionalized population. Such knowledge guides the utility of population screening to prevent ESRD. METHODS: The prevalence of albuminuria (microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria from a random urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio) and renal insufficiency [glomerular filtration rate (GFR) estimated from serum creatinine] was determined in different age categories in various adult screening groups in the cross-sectional Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). RESULTS: A total of 14,622 adult participants were included in the analysis. In the general population, 8.3% and 1.0% of participants demonstrated microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria, respectively. To identify one case of albuminuria, one would need to screen three persons with diabetes mellitus, seven non-diabetic hypertensive persons, or six persons over the age of 60. When albuminuria and renal insufficiency were considered together, it was clear that these tests were identifying different segments of the population; 37% of participants with a GFR less than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 demonstrated no albuminuria. Non-albuminuric renal insufficiency was most evident in the ages of 60 to 79; 34% of diabetics, and 63% of non-diabetic hypertensives with a GFR less than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 demonstrated no albuminuria. CONCLUSIONS: Albuminuria is prevalent, and when considered together, screening tests of albuminuria and renal insufficiency measured on a single occasion identify different segments of the population. The prevalence of albuminuria and renal insufficiency in populations of interest should be considered, as this knowledge has implications for the effectiveness of screening.

Original publication




Journal article


Kidney Int

Publication Date





2165 - 2175


Adult, Age Distribution, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Albuminuria, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Glomerular Filtration Rate, Humans, Male, Mass Screening, Middle Aged, Nutrition Surveys, Prevalence, Renal Insufficiency