Glomerular filtration rate: when to measure and in which patients?

Rajiv Agarwal, Pierre Delanaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Of the glomerular, tubular and endocrine functions of the kidney, nephrologists have mostly focused their attention on the glomerular functions-albuminuria and glomerular filtration rate (GFR)-to grade the severity of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Although both albuminuria and GFR are associated with renal and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, the utility of measured GFR (mGFR) has been questioned. GFR when measured adequately is the most precise measure of glomerular function and can be useful to individualize therapy among patients with CKD. In situations where estimated GFR is known to provide imprecise estimates of glomerular function, for example, sarcopenia and advanced cirrhosis, the measurement of GFR may be especially important. We discuss several clinical situations where mGFR can potentially influence the quality of life or complications of therapy because of interventions based on imperfect knowledge of GFR. We reason that although large databases may not detect the benefits of mGFR at the population level, precision medicine requires that therapy be individualized based on the best estimate of GFR that can be obtained particularly when the risk of harm is increased. The recent standardization of mGFRs is a step in the right direction and may help in treating the individual patient with CKD with a lower risk of complications and a better quality of life. We call for research in these subgroups of patients where it is clinically felt that mGFR is useful for clinical decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2001-2007
Number of pages7
JournalNephrology, dialysis, transplantation : official publication of the European Dialysis and Transplant Association - European Renal Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • accuracy
  • bias
  • glomerular filtration rate
  • precision
  • renal functions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation

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