Health Information

Screening for End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

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The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions. Screening for follows someone in renal failure to screen for evidence that they are getting close to ESRD.

Blood tests— to see if your kidneys are working properly. If they are not filtering the blood properly, the blood will contain excess amounts of creatinine and urea. Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle function. Urea is a waste product of protein metabolism.

Urine tests— to see if the kidneys are working properly. If they are not working properly, urine will contain protein. You may be asked to collect urine in a special container over a 24-hour period. This test will also show if your kidneys are clearing creatinine at a normal rate. The amount of urine produced during this test is also important. If your kidneys are failing, your urine output may be low or even completely absent. If you have diabetes, your doctor will likely check your urine every year for small amounts of protein.

The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a measurement of how well the kidneys are processing wastes. Your doctor can calculate the GFR based on your:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Body size
  • Blood creatinine level
StageGlomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
1over 90 mL/min (normal)
260-89 mL/min (mild decrease)
330-59 mL/min (moderate decrease)
415-29 mL/min (severe decrease)
5under 15 mL/min (kidney failure or end-stage renal disease)

The National Kidney Foundation provides screening for people with high blood pressure , diabetes , or a close relative with one of these conditions or with chronic renal failure.

Revision Information

  • Chronic kidney disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated April 22, 2013. Accessed July 2, 2013.

  • End-stage renal disease. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/Research/ScientificAreas/Kidney/KEB.htm Updated September 15, 2010. Accessed July 2, 2013.

  • Yu, HT. Progression of chronic renal failure. Arch Int Med . 2003;163:1417-1429.