Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Limited knowledge of chronic kidney disease among primary care patients – a cross-sectional survey

Wai Leng Chow1*, Veena D Joshi1, Aung Soe Tin1, Saskia van der Erf2, Jeremy Fung Yen Lim3, Teck Sin Swah4, Stephanie Swee Hong Teo4, Paul Soo Chye Goh5, Gilbert Choon Seng Tan6, Crystal Lim7 and Terence Yi-shern Kee8

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Health Services Research, Singapore Health Services, 168 Jalan Bukit Merah, #06-08 Tower 3, Singapore, 150169, Singapore

2 Department of Strategic Research, National Health Insurance Fund France, Paris, France

3 Lien Centre for Palliative Care, Duke-NUS, Singapore, Singapore

4 SingHealth Polyclinics, Bedok, Singapore, Singapore

5 SingHealth Polyclinics, Tampines, Singapore, Singapore

6 SingHealth Polyclinics, Geylang, Singapore, Singapore

7 Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

8 Department of Renal Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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BMC Nephrology 2012, 13:54  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-13-54

Published: 2 July 2012



Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in Singapore. While preventive effects have focused on early detection and education, little is known about the knowledge level of chronic kidney disease (CKD) locally. We seek to evaluate the knowledge of CKD among primary care patients.


We conducted a cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of 1520 patients from 3 primary care centers. Those with existing CKD or on dialysis were excluded. Knowledge was assessed based on 7 questions on CKD in the self-administered questionnaire. One point was given for each correct answer with a maximum of 7 points.


1435 completed all 7 questions on CKD. Mean age was 48.9 ±15.0 (SD) years. 50.9% were male. 62.3% had a secondary and below education and 52.4% had a monthly household income of ≤ $2000. 43.7% had chronic diseases. Mean score was 3.44 ± 1.53 (out of a maximum of 7). Median score was 4. In multivariate logistic regression, being older {>60 years [Odds Ratio (OR) 0.50, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.32-0.79]; 40–60 years (OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.43,0.89)}, less educated [up to primary education (OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.22-0.49)], having a lower monthly household income [<S$2000 (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.26-0.66); S$2000-4999 (OR 0.53, 95%CI, 0.33-0.83)], and being non-professionals [OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.43-0.99] (all p < 0.05)] were likely to score less.


This suggests that CKD education should be targeted at older patients with lower education and lower socioeconomic status.

Chronic kidney disease; General knowledge; Influencing factors; Primary care