Cleveland Clinic doctor discusses removing race from kidney disease calculation

Vials of blood for testing [Jammy Photography/Shutterstock]
Vials of blood for testing [Jammy Photography/Shutterstock]
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According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 37-million adults in the United States are estimated to have chronic kidney disease.  Yet most—90-percent--- have no idea that their kidneys may be impaired. 

Diagnosing kidney disease requires an equation known as the eGFR.  That stands for Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate.  It roughly calculates how well kidneys are removing waste from the bloodstream. A higher number usually indicates better kidney function.

The eGFR calculation factors in a person’s age, sex and race to estimate how well your kidneys are working.

Black patients eGFR results are typically adjusted and raised by a certain percentage to account for higher levels of the bloodstream waste product creatinine.  

Last fall, a task force led by the National Kidney Foundation and the American Society of Nephrology released a recommendation to remove Black race as a factor in calculating kidney function.  Instead the task force recommended a more accurate and race-free approach to diagnosing kidney disease that removes bias in testing.

Doctor Crytal Gadegbeku with the Cleveland Clinic served as a member of that task force.  She is the Chair of Kidney Medicine for the Clinic’s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute. Later in the hour she joins the show to discuss how removing race from the calculation will impact patients.

If you want to read more on topics such as this, check out our Ideastream Public Media Health Team’s work on Connecting the Dots.  It looks at how racism contributes to poor health outcomes in the Cleveland area.  You can find their work at ideastream.org/connectingthedots

First up on today’s The Sound of Ideas.

The Mayor of Hudson, Craig Shubert, resigned on Monday nearly a week after telling his city council that allowing shanties for ice fishing in a local park could lead to prostitution.

It was the latest in a series of high-profile incidents involving Shubert that garnered national attention.  Shubert, in a statement to the city, said his remarks about prostitution and ice fishing were an attempt to inject dry humor into a city meeting.

WKSU Senior Reporter Kabir Bhatia discusses the mayor’s resignation.

Up next, whether you are a fan of red-light or a foe of the automated traffic devices, they are back before the Ohio Supreme Court.

The court heard arguments last week over a 2019 law that restricted how the automated traffic cameras are used.  That law included measures such as requiring ticket disputes be heard in a county or municipal court.  The law also reduced a community's  share of the Ohio Local Government Fund by the same amount of ticket fines collected, taking profit motive out of the equation.
 
As the court considers the case, Strongsville State Rep. Tom Patton has introduced seven bills seeking  to curb the use of the cameras. He's been a longtime camera foe of the cameras. 

Our Statehouse News Bureau Chief Karen Kasler discusses the topic.

Guests: 

Kabir Bhatia, Senior Reporter, WKSU  
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV 
Crystal Gadegbeku, M.D., Chair of Nephrology, Cleveland Clinic, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute  
 

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