Estimated glomerular filtration rate

Last revised by Benjamin Li Shun Chan on 26 Feb 2024

The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is widely used as a surrogate marker of renal function and is mathematically derived from the patient's serum creatinine, using their age, sex and ethnicity. There is some controversy over whether ethnicity should be included in the calculations.

The eGFR can be calculated using a number of different formulas including the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) and the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (4-v MDRD).  4-v MDRD is arguably the most used and is calculated using a four variables formula:

eGFR (mL/min/1.73m2) = 186 (serum creatinine in µmol/L × 0.011312)-1.154 × (age)-0.203 × (0.742 if female) × (1.212 if African/American Black)

Prior to the introduction of this formula, eGFR derivation required an accurate body weight, which was a significant impediment to its easy adoption into routine clinical practice.

Since 2021 there has been a new CKD-EPI equation that functions without using ethnicity or race 2.

The actual glomerular filtration rate (GFR), as opposed to the estimated GFR, is of course more accurate but is much more laborious to measure, with methods including:

Therefore in routine clinical practice, the eGFR is the usual test of renal function.

The published literature advises caution in the use of the MDRD (modification of diet in renal disease) calculation in:

Not to be confused with

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