Data show that men are 30% more likely than women to start renal replacement therapy.

Renal disease progresses more slowly in women than men even though women have a lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) at the time of referral to a nephrologist, according to Canadian researchers.

Adeera Levin, MD, Professor of Nephrology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and colleagues analyzed data from 3,444 patients (mean age 66 years and mean eGFR 27.6 mL/min/1.73 m2). At the time of referral to a nephrologist, women had a mean eGFR of 26 vs. 28 for men, a significant difference between the genders.

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After a mean follow-up of 47 months, 36% of women started renal replacement therapy (RRT) compared with 42% of men, Dr. Levin reported at the Canadian Society of Nephrology annual meeting in Edmonton, Alberta. Women had significantly more abnormal hemoglobin, phosphate, and parathyroid hormone values but less proteinuria, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease compared with men.

After adjusting for confounders, men were 30% more likely than women to start RRT. The mean annual decline in eGFR was 3.36 mL/min for men compared with 2.60 for women. The genders did not differ significantly with respect to mortality: 14% of each group died during the study period.

The study is not the first to look at gender and renal disease progression, but it is the first in which CKD patients were followed by nephrologists, Dr. Levin said.