Research Article

Prevalence of advanced renal failure in Northern Ireland.

BMJ 1990; 301 doi: (Published 20 October 1990) Cite this as: BMJ 1990;301:900
  1. M G McGeown
  1. Queen's University of Belfast.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine the prevalence of advanced chronic renal failure in Northern Ireland as part of an assessment by the Renal Association of the level of service provision for treatment of such patients. DESIGN--Prospective notification of patients reaching a defined level of advanced chronic renal failure (serum creatinine concentration greater than or equal to 500 mumol/l or blood urea concentration greater than or equal to 25 mmol/l) within one year and follow up for at least three, and, at most, four years after notification. SETTING--Northern Ireland. PATIENTS--122 Patients with a serum creatinine or blood urea concentration higher than the defined level newly detected from 1 March 1985 to 28 February 1986. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Survival after notification. RESULTS--77 Patients of all ages/million population/year had advanced chronic renal failure compared with 67/million/year between the ages of 5 and 80 found in an earlier study of the same population. 62% Of the patients were older than 50 years. Seventeen (14%) of the patients either required dialysis or died within one month of notification, 51 (42%) survived for at least three months, and 23 (19%) for one year or longer. Three patients, all of whom were attending a renal clinic, survived for periods of 43, 45, and 46 months respectively without renal replacement treatment. CONCLUSIONS--The increased number of new patients disclosed in this survey compared with the earlier survey is mainly owing to an increased number of older patients. Such patients often have disabilities other than renal failure, are less likely to be capable of self treatment, may develop complications more often and require more frequent hospital admissions, and may not be suitable for transplantation and consequently have considerable resource implications for the NHS.