Open Access Open Badges Research article

Prevalence and determinants of chronic kidney disease in community-dwelling elderly by various estimating equations

Dietrich Rothenbacher1*, Jochen Klenk1, Michael Denkinger2, Mahir Karakas3, Thorsten Nikolaus2, Richard Peter1, Wolfgang Koenig3 and for the ActiFE Study Group

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry, Ulm University, Ulm, Helmholtzstr 22, D-89081, Germany

2 Agaplesion Bethesda Clinic Ulm, Ulm, Germany

3 Department of Internal Medicine II-Cardiology, University of Ulm Medical Centre, Ulm, Germany

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:343  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-343

Published: 10 May 2012



Chronic kidney disease (CKD) represents a global public health problem. Few data exist in the elderly. The objective of the current study is to estimate the prevalence of CKD by means of various established and new equations and to identify the main determinants of CKD in elderly.


The ActiFE Ulm (Activity and Function in the Elderly in Ulm) study is a population-based cohort study in people of 65 years and older. Kidney function was assessed by means of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) based on two creatinine- (Cr-; MDRD, CKD-EPI) and one cystatin C - (CysC-) based method. The relationship between various potential risk factors and CKD was quantified using unconditional logistic regression.


A total of 1471 subjects were in the final analysis (mean age 75.6 years, SD 6.56). Overall, prevalence of CKD (eGFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2) was 34.3% by MDRD, 33.0% by CKD-EPI, and 14.6% by the CysC-based eGFR. All eGFRs showed statistically significant correlations with C-reactive protein, uric acid, as well as with lipid values. In multivariable analysis age was clearly related to prevalence of CKD and the risks were highest with the CysC-based equation. Females had a higher risk for CKD stages 3–5 with MDRD (OR 1.63; 95% CI: 1.23–2.16) whereas the OR was 1.23 (95% CI 0.92–1.65) with the CKD-Epi and OR = 0.89 (95% CI 0.58–1.34) with the CysC-based equation after multivariable adjustment. Although the cystatin C based definition of CKD resulted in a lower prevalence compared to the creatinine based ones, other measures of renal damage such as albuminuria were more prevalent in those defined by CysC-eGFR.


Prevalence of CKD is very variable based on the used estimating equation. More work is needed to evaluate the various estimating equations especially in elderly before we are able to assess the practical consequences of the observed differences.

Elderly; Chronic kidney disease; Population-based study; Estimating equations; Risk factors