OBJECTIVE: Despite data suggesting that routine urine screening for chronic kidney disease (CKD) has low diagnostic yield and the American Academy of Pediatrics 2007 recommendation to discontinue this screening, pediatricians may not have recognized this change. Because the new recommendation marks a major alteration in the practice guidelines, we sought to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of dipstick urinalysis for detection of CKD from the primary care practitioner's perspective. METHODS: Decision analysis was used to model a screening dipstick urinalysis strategy relative to a no-screening strategy. Data on the incidence of hematuria and proteinuria in children were derived from published reports of large cohorts of school-aged children. Direct costs were estimated from the perspective of the primary care practitioner. The measure of effectiveness was the rate of diagnoses of CKD. Cost-effectiveness was evaluated by using an incremental costeffectiveness ratio. RESULTS: Expected costs and effectiveness for the no-screening strategy were $0 because no resources were used and no cases of CKD were diagnosed. The screening strategy involved a cost per dipstick of $3.05. Accounting for both true-positive and false-positive initial screens, 14.2% of the patients required a second dipstick as per typical clinical care, bringing the expected cost of the screening strategy to $3.47 per patient. In the screening strategy, 1 case of CKD was diagnosed per 800 screened, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was $2779.50 per case diagnosed. CONCLUSIONS: Urine dipstick is inexpensive, but it is a poor screening test for CKD and a cost-ineffective procedure for the primary care provider. These data support the change in the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on the use of screening dipstick urinalysis. Clinicians must consider the cost-effectiveness of preventive care procedures to make better use of available resources.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health