Dialysis and kidney transplantation demand could rise by at least 45% over the next decade

The number of people receiving kidney replacement therapy for end-stage kidney disease is expected to rise by at least 45% from 19,800 cases in 2011 to 28,800 cases in 2020, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

While an estimated one-in-ten Australian adults (1.7 million) have measured signs of chronic kidney disease, it is often not until kidney function has deteriorated into the fifth and most severe stage, known as end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), that a diagnosis is made. ESKD is the most severe form of chronic kidney disease and results in a high health and economic burden for patients, families and communities. It usually requires kidney replacement therapy in the form of dialysis, or kidney transplantation, for patients to survive.

The report, Projections of the prevalence of treated end-stage kidney disease in Australia 2012-2020, presents three projection estimates that have been derived using different models, and also predicts the future influence of diabetes on kidney replacement therapy for-ESKD (treated-ESKD). These predictions are not intended to be exact forecasts, but rather they provide an indication of how demand for treated-ESKD may increase in future years.

The number of people receiving kidney replacement therapy for their ESKD is projected to increase by at least 8,900 cases (45% increase) from 2011 to 2020 under all of the models considered, and could increase by as much as 12,700 cases (64% increase).

'The predicted rise in treated-ESKD prevalence between 2011 and 2020 easily exceeds predicted population growth of 13% over the same period,' said AIHW spokesperson Sushma Mathur.

'Diabetes, the most common cause of ESKD in Australia, is predicted to have a strong influence on future growth in the prevalence of treated-ESKD.'

'In 2011, diabetes was the primary cause of treated-ESKD for 4,400 people. This number is projected to more than double, that is, increase by over 100%, to 9,700 cases in 2020. The number of people with other causes as their primary cause of their EKSD is also projected to rise by 47%.'

Other likely contributing factors to prevalence growth include: the ageing population, changes in propensity to treat and improvements in survival for dialysis and kidney transplant patients.

The report also examines projected changes in kidney replacement therapy treatment patterns.

'If current trends continue, almost half (48%) of all treated-ESKD patients in 2020 will have a functioning kidney transplant, an increase from 42% in 2007,' Ms Mathur said.

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, 4 June 2014

Further information: Sushma Mathur, AIHW, mob. 0407 915 851