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© 2018 The Author(s). Background: Accurately identifying cases of chronic kidney disease (CKD) from primary care data facilitates the management of patients, and is vital for surveillance and research purposes. Ontologies provide a systematic and transparent basis for clinical case definition and can be used to identify clinical codes relevant to all aspects of CKD care and its diagnosis. Methods: We used routinely collected primary care data from the Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre. A domain ontology was created and presented in Ontology Web Language (OWL). The identification and staging of CKD was then carried out using two parallel approaches: (1) clinical coding consistent with a diagnosis of CKD; (2) laboratory-confirmed CKD, based on estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) or the presence of proteinuria. Results: The study cohort comprised of 1.2 million individuals aged 18 years and over. 78,153 (6.4%) of the population had CKD on the basis of an eGFR of < 60 mL/min/1.73m2, and a further 7366 (0.6%) individuals were identified as having CKD due to proteinuria. 19,504 (1.6%) individuals without laboratory-confirmed CKD had a clinical code consistent with the diagnosis. In addition, a subset of codes allowed for 1348 (0.1%) individuals receiving renal replacement therapy to be identified. Conclusions: Finding cases of CKD from primary care data using an ontological approach may have greater sensitivity than less comprehensive methods, particularly for identifying those receiving renal replacement therapy or with CKD stages 1 or 2. However, the possibility of inaccurate coding may limit the specificity of this method.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Nephrology

Publication Date