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About Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)

What is GFR?

Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) is the measurement used to determine kidney function. Knowing your GFR score enables your physician to figure out the stage of your kidney disease and plan the best possible treatment.

How is GFR Calculated?

GFR calculates your age, serum creatinine number, gender, and race to produce a score. Knowing a patient’s GFR and its level of change over time are essential to the detection of kidney disease, understanding its severity and making decisions about treatment options.

What Does My Score Mean?

Stage 1—GFR of 90 mL/min or higher

A GFR of 90 mL/min or higher is normal in most healthy people. Usually few symptoms are present at this stage of early chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Stage 2—GFR of 60-89 mL/min

For some patients, such as the elderly or infants, a GFR between 60-89 mL/min may be normal if no kidney damage is present. A GFR between 60-89 mL/min for three months or longer along with kidney damage is a sign of early CKD. Usually few symptoms are present at this stage.

Stage 3—GFR between 30-59 mL/min

Patients at Stage 3 have moderate CKD. They have a GFR between 30-59 mL/min and are more likely to develop anemia, early bone disease or high blood pressure and may want to see a nephrologist.

Stage 4—GFR between 15-29 mL/min

A patient at Stage 4 has severe CKD, a GFR between 15-29 mL/min, and will likely need dialysis or a kidney transplant in the future.

Stage 5—GFR of 15 mL/min or less

Patients at Stage 5 have chronic CKD. They have a GFR of 15 mL/min or less and have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).The kidneys have lost almost all ability to function effectively at this stage. They will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.

Our kidney specialists can work with you to provide individualized evaluation and treatment, taking into consideration your GFR and other factors. To learn more or schedule an appointment at one of our clinics — call 412-802-3043 or toll free 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).

You should discuss this result with your kidney specialist.​

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