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What Is a Creatinine Clearance Calculator?

A creatinine clearance calculator is used to determine the percentage of function in the kidneys.
A creatinine clearance calculator may indicate the need for dialysis.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2014
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A creatinine clearance calculator is used to calculate the percentage of a person's kidney function. Creatine, an important part of muscle tissue, breaks down within the body and forms what is known as creatinine. With healthy kidney function, the body is able to process and eliminate the majority of this creatinine. When kidney function becomes impaired, the creatinine levels in both the blood and the urine are elevated.

When calculating the amount of creatinine in the body, it is important to compare the blood and urine levels. This is the primary function of the creatinine clearance calculator. A blood test is performed to obtain what is known as the serum creatine level. This number is then compared with the number from a urine test, in which urine has been collected by the patient for a period of 24 hours. Together, these numbers will give medical professionals a result that is known as the GFR.

GFR, which stands for glomular filtration rate, is a number obtained through the use of a creatinine clearance calculator. The GFR indicates the percentage of kidney function and is extremely useful in diagnosing and tracking the progress of kidney disease. This number will help the doctor to decide when medical intervention, such as dialysis, may become necessary.

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Generally speaking, a person should see a kidney specialist any time that the creatinine clearance calculator indicates a GFR of 30 or less. If this number falls below 15, kidney transplant or dialysis is almost inevitable. The GFR can also help the patient as well as the medical staff monitor the progression of the various stages of kidney disease.

In Stage 1, the creatinine clearance calculator will show a GFR of 90 or more. Stage 2 is indicated by a GFR of 60 to 89. Once the GFR is between 30-59, Stage 3 Kidney Disease is present. Stage 4 presents with a GFR of 15-29. If the GFR falls below 15, Stage 5 is present, and it becomes necessary to undergo dialysis or a transplant.

Some types of kidney disease show few, if any, symptoms, especially in the beginning. For this reason, the use of a creatinine clearance calculator is a useful tool for medical professionals in finding and diagnosing a problem before it gets to the point of complete kidney failure. Once diagnosed, lifestyle and dietary changes can often slow the progression of many types of kidney disease.

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