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eGFR and kidney function blood tests
At various points along the kidney cancer pathway, kidney cancer patients will have blood tests to monitor the function of the remaining kidney(s) and check that scans using contrast dye do not impact kidney function.
The blood test carried out to assess kidney function is known as eGFR (estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate).
Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) Blood Test
Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that help remove toxins (waste) from your blood. Creatinine is a chemical released into the bloodstream when providing energy to muscles. The calculation for eGFR takes account of age, gender and creatinine levels and is a measure of how much blood is filtered every minute.
For a patient with two kidneys, a normal eGFR is greater than 90 but values as low as 60 are considered normal if there is no evidence of kidney disease.
Nephrectomy Patients and Chronic Kidney Disease
Just because eGFR is within the same ranges as used for CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) does not necessarily mean nephrectomy patients have CKD (unless they have a separate diagnosis of CKD) because kidney disease patients have damaged kidney(s) whereas most kidney cancer patients’ remaining kidney(s) are healthy.
Patients who have had a nephrectomy may be at higher risk of developing (CKD) either temporarily in the months following their nephrectomy, or permanently if the remaining kidney(s) is/are not able to filter effectively longer term. Because of this, patients who have undergone nephrectomy will be regularly monitored and if necessary, referred to a nephrologist.