OVER 40 per cent of patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are unaware that they have the condition, according to research published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).
A study led by Dr Maarten Taal of the Royal Derby Hospital examined the management of 1,741 patients on QOF registers at 32 general practices and found that 41 per cent were unaware of their CKD diagnosis. Many of these patients were found to need adjustments to their treatment (such as changing medication to improve blood pressure control) in order lower risk levels and slow down the deterioration in renal function.
Another study in the journal from the University of Manchester explored the reasons for non-disclosure in a series of interviews with GPs and nurses, and found that concerns about 'medicalisation' and raising anxiety were potential barriers to telling patients about their diagnosis.
In an editorial, Dr Donal O'Donoghue, National Clinical Director for Kidney Care said: "Some practitioners will have concerns over the stigmatising and anxiety-provoking impact of a CKD label and the greater consultation time required for a complex explanation of the diagnosis.
"We should not forget that physicians have a duty, morally and legally, to disclose truths that patients could reasonably be expected to be told in a sensitive way that they will understand."