University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Use of the kidney failure risk equation to inform clinical care of patients with chronic kidney disease: a mixed-methods systematic review

Bhachu, H. K., Fenton, A., Cockwell, P., Aiyegbusi, O., Kyte, Derek ORCID: and Calvert, M. (2022) Use of the kidney failure risk equation to inform clinical care of patients with chronic kidney disease: a mixed-methods systematic review. BMJ Open, 12 (1). e055572. ISSN Online: 2044-6055 Print: ISSN 2044-6055

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Rationale and objective

The Kidney Failure Risk Equation (KFRE) predicts the risk of end-stage kidney disease in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). This study aimed to evaluate the impact of the utility of KFRE in clinical practice.

Study design

Systematic review.

Setting and study populations

Adult patients with CKD but not receiving renal replacement therapy enrolled in studies where KFRE was used in clinical care pathways.

Selection criteria for studies

All studies published from April 2011 to October 2021 identified from Medline, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Embase and reference and citation searches of included studies.

Data extraction

Relevant data were extracted, and two reviewers independently assessed study quality using appropriate appraisal tools.

Analytical approach

Findings reported as a narrative synthesis due to heterogeneity of the included studies.


Of 1635 studies identified, 440 duplicates were removed. The remaining 1195 titles and abstracts were screened. All five studies for full-text review were included in the analysis. Three uses of KFRE were assessed: (1) primary to specialty care interface; (2) general nephrology to multidisciplinary care transition; and (3) treatment planning. Evidence of impact on number of patient referrals into nephrology care was conflicting. However, wait times improved in one study. Although KFRE identified high-risk patients for increased multidisciplinary support, there was concern patients stepped down, no longer meeting eligibility criteria, may lack access to services.


This is the first systematic review of studies that have assessed the actual impact of KFRE in clinical practice with five studies of varying quality reported to date. Trials are in progress assessing the impact on clinical outcomes of using KFRE in clinical practice, and KFRE is being incorporated into guidelines for CKD management. Further studies are needed to assess the impact of KFRE on clinical care.

Trial registration number

Protocol registered on PROSPERO before initiation of the study (Ref: CRD42020219926).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
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Depositing User: Miranda Jones
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2022 15:14
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2022 15:54

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