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CVD Calculator Helps GPs Diagnose CKD Earlier and Save Lives

Kidney disease will be detected earlier thanks to new cardiovascular guidelines and an online risk calculator, highlighting the close link between kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.

Kidney Health Australia, a member of the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (ACDPA), helped develop the 2023 Australian Guideline for assessing and managing cardiovascular disease risk and associated Aus CVD Risk Calculator, which was launched in Canberra 20th July 2023.

Not updated since 2012, the new guidelines identify the importance of kidney disease as a major risk factor for heart disease, reinforcing the need for GPs to do a Kidney Health Check before completing their cardiovascular assessment.

Kidney disease remains severely underdiagnosed due to its symptomless nature. Now, those being assessed for cardiovascular disease (CVD) will have their kidney health assessed earlier, giving them more time to treat and manage the interlinking conditions. With both diseases sharing common risk factors and also being risk factors for one another, the guidelines will make it easier for GPs to assess them hand in hand.

The presence of either disease also increases the mortality rate of the other. Chronic kidney disease increases the mortality rate of those with CVD by approximately 60% and CVD is the leading cause of death for those with chronic kidney disease.

Kidney disease and potential cardiovascular death is a ticking time bomb for the 1.8 million Aussies currently living with undiagnosed kidney disease.

The guidelines and calculator are another critical step in detecting and managing both diseases earlier to potentially save thousands of lives.

According to Kidney Health Australia’s recently released Deloitte Economics Access Report, earlier detection of kidney disease could result in 38,200 fewer deaths due to kidney failure and CVD-related events, 237,234 fewer CVD hospitalisations and save the economy $3.3 billion in reduced occurrence of kidney-related cardiovascular disease hospitalisations over the next 20 years.

It is little known that only a relatively small proportion of those with chronic kidney disease will progress to kidney failure requiring dialysis or kidney transplant; a far greater proportion will die prematurely, largely due to cardiovascular complications.

The Aus CVD calculator will help healthcare professionals predict the likelihood of a cardiovascular event over the next 5 years, allowing people with CKD and their doctors to better manage this risk. The guidelines reinforce Kidney Health Australia’s Primary Care Professional Handbook and education programs, which emphasis cardiovascular assessment as an important step in CKD management.

Endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the guidelines offer clinicians practical advice and tools to facilitate shared decision-making with their patients.

The guidelines also provide greater support for First Nations Australians. Among First Nations Australians adults with cardiovascular disease, 32% have comorbid CKD (compared to 21% of non-Indigenous Australians).

Go to CVD Check Calculator Download the Deloitte Economics Access Summary Report