European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 203–210 | Cite as

The Berlin initiative study: the methodology of exploring kidney function in the elderly by combining a longitudinal and cross-sectional approach

  • Elke S. SchaeffnerEmail author
  • Markus van der Giet
  • Jens Gaedeke
  • Markus Tölle
  • Natalie Ebert
  • Martin K. Kuhlmann
  • Peter Martus


Epidemiologic data on incidence, prevalence and risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its progression to kidney failure in people ≥70 years are scarce. This lack may have two reasons: First, the issue has only recently gained importance by the changing demographics characterized by an aging society. Secondly, a validated method for estimating kidney function in terms of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in the elderly is still lacking. In this paper we describe the methodology of a combined longitudinal and cross-sectional approach of a population based study which will start in January 2010. The aims of the study are to identify prevalent and incident cases of CKD as well as co-morbidities and associated risk factors for progression of disease in this specific age-group. To assess prevalence, a new GFR estimation equation is to be developed. In a longitudinal approach a population based, age stratified sample of 2,000 subjects ≥70 years will be randomly drawn from a data base of a large health insurance company. Interview, physical examination, and preliminary estimation of GFR, based on serum creatinine will be performed. The entire cohort will be followed over the course of 2 years. In a cross-sectional approach a subsample of 600 subjects will be defined based on preliminary GFR values. Kidney function will be determined by measuring plasma clearance of an exogenous filtration marker (Iohexol). A new GFR-equation will be developed and validated using Iohexol clearance as gold standard to estimate GFR accurately and precisely. Data of 2,000 subjects will be used to estimate prevalence of CKD.


CKD Design Epidemiological study Formula Glomerular filtration rate Incidence Older persons Prevalence 



The authors thank Andrej Woehrmann for his assistance in the quality assurance process and the manuscript preparation. Grant support: This work was supported by the KfH Foundation of Preventive Medicine (, a non-profit organization supporting science and research in the field of prevention. Address: KfH-Stiftung Praeventivmedizin, Martin-Behaim-Strasse 20, 63263 Neu-Isenburg.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elke S. Schaeffner
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Markus van der Giet
    • 2
  • Jens Gaedeke
    • 3
  • Markus Tölle
    • 2
  • Natalie Ebert
    • 1
  • Martin K. Kuhlmann
    • 4
  • Peter Martus
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of NephrologyCharité University MedicineBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Division of NephrologyCharité Campus Benjamin FranklinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Division of NephrologyCharité Campus MitteBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Department of NephrologyVivantes Klinikum am FriedrichshainBerlinGermany
  5. 5.Institute for Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology, CharitéBerlinGermany
  6. 6.Campus Virchow Klinikum, Division of Nephrology and Intensive Care MedicineCharité HospitalBerlinGermany

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