Higher rates of treated end-stage kidney disease projected for 2020

New cases of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) treated with dialysis or kidney transplantation are expected to rise significantly over the next decade, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Australia’s ageing population and increasing rates of diabetes (the most common cause of treated ESKD) are estimated to contribute considerably to the predicted increase.

The report, Projections of the incidence of treated end-stage kidney disease in Australia, 2010-2020, examines current trends to estimate the incidence (new cases) of treated ESKD in Australia in the future.

‘ESKD is the fifth and final stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD), at which point kidney function has deteriorated to the degree that dialysis or transplant are required to survive,’ said AIHW spokesperson Lynelle Moon.

The report projects that the national incidence rate of treated ESKD could rise by up to 80%—from 11 cases per 100,000 people in 2009 to 19 cases per 100,000 people in 2020.

Given dialysis is the most common reason for hospitalisation in Australia, accounting for over 1.1 million hospitalisations each year, the estimated increase in incidence would have a large impact on health services, particularly hospitals.

‘The increasing number of people with diabetes is expected to contribute significantly to the increase in treated ESKD nationally. This is reflected in the projected proportion of patients who have diabetes when commencing treatment increasing from about 45% in 2009 to 64% in 2020.’

The incidence rate of treated ESKD is projected to rise for both sexes and across most age groups, although mainly in patients aged 70 years and older.

It is also predicted to increase at both national and state/territory levels, though the rate of increase is likely to vary across jurisdictions.

‘The Northern Territory is expected to continue to have the highest incidence rate of all the states and territories,’ Dr Moon said.

‘However, its projected rate of increase—40%—is the smallest over the period 2009-2020.’

The report provides a useful insight into what might reasonably be expected in the future and is of particular value for health service planning purposes.

It is important to note that projections are not intended to function as exact forecasts, but to give an indication of what might be expected if the assumptions were to apply into the future.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 14 September 2011

Further information: Dr Lynelle Moon, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1235 mob. 0414 899 826

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer (02) 6244 1032