Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in India: What Do We Know and Where We Need to Go

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Kidney International Reports


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) not associated with known risk factors has been reported from parts of India and is presumed to be similar to CKD of unknown etiology (CKDu) that has been described from Central America. The reports from India have been fragmented without clear description of the disease phenotype or its determinants. This paper summarizes the current state of knowledge around CKDu in India based on a review of literature, multi-stakeholder consultation, and a survey of Indian nephrologists. We also contacted individual research groups to solicit data. Our findings suggest that that CKDu is reported from most regions in India; however, it is interpreted differently from the phenotype described from Central America and Sri Lanka. The differences include lack of a clear demographic or occupation group, older age of affected participants, and presence of mild hypertension and low-grade proteinuria. Well-designed prospective field studies with appropriate diagnostic workup are needed to establish the disease burden and identify etiologies, along with socioeconomic and health consequences, the intersection with the environment, and the public health response. Community-based research should phenotype the entire CKD population rather than be restricted to cases with presumed CKDu based on predefined criteria. Guidelines are needed for clinical evaluation, referral, management, and harmonization of clinical documentation and health records. More data are needed to support the existence of a unique CKDu phenotype in India.

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