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Last Reviewed July 2015

Page 1

Prevent, Detect, Support.

Fact sheet

Estimated Glomerular
Filtration Rate
What is eGFR?
eGFR stands for ‘estimated Glomerular If your doctor orders a blood test to
Filtration Rate.’ The glomerular learn more about your kidney function,
filtration rate measures how well creatinine will be measured and
your kidneys filter the wastes from an eGFR result is usually provided
your blood and is the best overall automatically by the pathology
measure of kidney function. It helps laboratory. It is not reported in
to determine if there is any kidney children aged less than 18 years, if
damage. If the filtration rate is low, you are known to be pregnant or if
the kidneys are not working properly. there are other reasons for the result
Normal filtration rate in young being invalid.
adults is about 90–100 millilitres
Your eGFR result helps your doctor
every minute .
to determine how well your kidneys
It is difficult to calculate the exact are working. Your doctor may also
rate at which your kidneys are test for other signs and conditions,
working so a special formula has including albumin in your urine
been developed to estimate your GFR (albuminuria), blood in the urine
(eGFR). This formula uses your age, (haematuria), high blood pressure
gender and the level of creatinine in and diabetes. This helps to decide
your blood to estimate your GFR. if you have chronic or longer term
conditions causing kidney disease.
Creatinine is a waste product made
by the muscles. It is usually removed For more information see fact sheets
from the blood by the kidneys before Albuminuria, Blood in the Urine
passing out in the urine. When the and Heart Disease and Chronic
kidneys aren’t working well, more Kidney Disease.
creatinine stays in the blood.

What does my eGFR result look like?

Your eGFR is reported in millilitres 90 mL/min/1.73m2. eGFR results of less than 90, the actual value will be
per minute which is written as 90 or greater may be shown on a shown. For example, a result of 105
mL/min/1.73m2 (the “1.73m2” indicates pathology report as the actual value may be shown as 105 mL/min/1.73m2
a result expressed relative to body or as eGFR ≥ 90 mL/min/1.73m2, or as ≥ 90 mL/min/1.73m2. A result
surface area). A normal GFR in a depending on the preference of the of 67 would be shown as 67 mL/
young adult is greater than pathology laboratory. If your eGFR is min/1.73m2.
The symbol ≥ means ‘greater than or equal to’.

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Kidney Health Australia Estimated Glomerular Last Reviewed July 2015
Prevent, Detect, Support. Filtration Rate (eGFR) Page 2

What if my eGFR What if my eGFR

is above 60? is below 60?
If your result is over 60 mL/min/1.73m2, If your eGFR is above 60 mLmin/1.73m2 A value below 60 mL/min/1.73m2
your kidney function is normal or close and there are no signs of kidney suggests some loss of kidney function.
to normal. Current kidney damage is damage, your doctor may still decide To confirm this, your doctor will most
excluded unless other tests for kidney to monitor your kidney function and/or likely repeat the blood test. Monitoring
damage are abnormal. discuss healthy lifestyle choices. changes to your eGFR also tells
your doctor how fast or slowly your
For example, your doctor may also
condition is progressing.
perform some tests on your urine
to check for signs of kidney damage. To be diagnosed with CKD you
These tests are typically looking for must have a GFR less than 60 mL/
blood in the urine, or protein in the min/1.73m2 for more than three
urine. If these are abnormal you may months, or some other signs of
still be diagnosed with chronic kidney kidney damage (such as albuminuria,
disease (CKD) if these last for more haematuria, or abnormal kidney
than three months, even if your eGFR ultrasound or kidney biopsy results).
is above 60 mL/min/1.73m2.

Stages of chronic kidney disease

Kidney function can be classified into stages depending on your eGFR. Your eGFR and albuminuria results are
combined to provide an overall picture
Stage 1 A normal eGFR greater than or equal to 90 mL/min/1.73m2 of how well your kidneys are working.
Your doctor uses this information
Stage 2 Slightly decreased eGFR between 60–89 mL/min/1.73m2
to decide which treatment is best
If your kidney function is at stage 1 or 2, you only have for you. Treatment also depends on
CKD if you have albuminuria, haematuria, a pathological the cause of your kidney damage.
abnormality or a structural abnormality. Controlling diabetes and high blood
pressure can help to slow or prevent
Stage 3a  ild–moderate decrease in eGFR between
further kidney damage. It also reduces
45–59 mL/min/1.73m2
the risk of other health problems,
Stage 3b Moderate–severe decrease in eGFR between such as heart attacks and strokes.
30–44 mL/min/1.73m2 See the Chronic Kidney Disease
Stage 4 Severe decrease in eGFR between 15–29 mL/min/1.73m2 fact sheet for more information.

Stage 5 Kidney failure as eGFR decreases to less than

15 mL/min/1.73m2 or dialysis is started

Who is more at risk of chronic kidney disease?

You are at increased risk of chronic • have high blood pressure • are a smoker
kidney disease if you:
• have diabetes • are 60 years or older
• have established heart problems • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait
(heart failure or past heart attack) Islander origin
and/or had a stroke
• have had history of acute kidney
• have a family history of kidney failure injury
• are obese (body mass index greater
than or equal to 30)

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Kidney Health Australia Estimated Glomerular Last Reviewed July 2015
Prevent, Detect, Support. Filtration Rate (eGFR) Page 3

For more information This is intended as a general

introduction to this topic and is not
If you have a hearing
about kidney or urinary meant to substitute for your doctor’s
or Health Professional’s advice. or speech impairment,
health, please contact All care is taken to ensure that
the information is relevant to contact the National
our free call Kidney Health the reader and applicable to
each state in Australia. It should
Relay Service on
1800 555 677 or
Information Service be noted that Kidney Health
Australia recognises that each relayservice.com.au
(KHIS) on 1800 454 363. person’s experience is individual
and that variations do occur in For all types of services
treatment and management due to
ask for 1800 454 363
Or visit our website personal circumstances, the health
professional and the state one
kidney.org.au to access lives in. Should you require further
information always consult your
free health literature. doctor or health professional.

Kidney Health Australia gratefully

acknowledges the valuable
contribution of the Royal College
of Pathologists of Australasia
for the review of this material.

Connect with us www.kidney.org.au Freecall 1800 454 363