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Characteristics of South African patients presenting with kidney disease in rural KwaZulu-Natal: a cross sectional study

Nomandla D Madala12*, Gertrude P Thusi1, Alain G H Assounga1 and Saraladevi Naicker3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nephrology, Division of Internal Medicine, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

2 Department of General Internal Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

3 Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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BMC Nephrology 2014, 15:61  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-15-61

Published: 14 April 2014



Diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) globally. Diabetes and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), both prevalent in South Africa, have not been reported as significant causes of ESRD.


We evaluated chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a cross-sectional study of 302 patients (165 females/ 137 males) at a CKD clinic in rural northern KwaZulu-Natal. We included all CKD outpatient clinic attendees and excluded acute renal failure patients. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data collected were analyzed with Stata11 software. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine factors associated with advanced CKD and results expressed as the odds ratio with the 95% confidence interval [OR (95% CI)].


Of 302 patients analyzed, 290 (96%) were black African. Mean age ± SD was 47.1 ± 17.0 years. Approximately 86.4% of females and 54.5% of males were overweight/ obese. Dyslipidaemia was observed in 47.9% females and 29.2% males (P < 0.001). Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was <30 ml/min/1.73 m2 in 50.6% patients. CKD risk factors observed were: hypertension (77.8%), diabetes (29.8%), HIV (28.5%), glomerulonephritis (7.0%) and tubulointerstitial diseases (5.6%). Independent factors associated with eGFR <30 ml/min/1.73 m2 at presentation were: HIV [OR = 2.4 (1.3-4.2), P = 0.004] and hypertension [OR = 2.3 (1.3-4.2), P = 0.007].


Diabetes and HIV are prevalent in CKD patients at primary/regional level healthcare in South Africa. With registry data lacking, dedicated CKD clinics at lower healthcare levels may provide valuable data on CKD epidemiology including changes in aetiology. Primary healthcare practitioners are faced with advanced CKD patients in resource-poor settings, with limited opportunity for upward referral hence the need for nephrology outreach programs.

Chronic kidney disease; Diabetes; Dyslipidaemia; HIV; Hypertension; Rural; South Africans