Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2023) Chronic kidney disease: Australian facts, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 09 February 2023.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2023). Chronic kidney disease: Australian facts. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease
Chronic kidney disease: Australian facts. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 09 February 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Chronic kidney disease: Australian facts [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2023 [cited 2023 Feb. 9]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2023, Chronic kidney disease: Australian facts, viewed 9 February 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease
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Chronic kidney disease contributed to around 17,700 deaths in Australia in 2020, which accounted for 11% of all deaths, according to the AIHW National Mortality Database.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) may be listed as the underlying cause of death – or, more commonly, as an associated cause – on a death certificate where another condition is listed as the underlying cause.
In 2020, CKD was listed as an underlying cause of death in around 4,200 cases (24% of all CKD deaths). It was recorded as an associated cause in a further 13,500 deaths (around 76% of CKD deaths). Deaths with CKD as an underlying or associated cause accounted for 11% of all deaths in Australia in 2020.
Linked data from the Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant (ANZDATA) Registry and National Death Index has shown that CKD, particularly kidney failure, is often an under-reported cause of death (AIHW 2016).
In cases where CKD was an associated cause of death, the most common groups of underlying causes were:
More specifically, the most common underlying causes of death, by 3-digit International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) code, were:
In about a third of cases where CKD was listed as an associated cause of death, the underlying cause was a disease of the circulatory system. This reflects the common comorbidity of CKD and cardiovascular diseases (see Comorbidity of chronic kidney disease for more information).
Epidemiological data also suggest that individuals with CKD are at increased risk of experiencing cognitive impairment and of developing dementia (Bugnicourt et al. 2013). This may explain why CKD is commonly listed as an associated cause of death in deaths due to unspecified dementia.
In cases where CKD was the underlying cause of death, the most common groups of associated causes included:
The number of deaths with CKD as an underlying or associated cause rose by 75% between 2000 and 2020 (10,200 and 17,700 deaths). After accounting for changes in the age structure of the population over this time, the rate of CKD deaths remained relatively stable between 2000 and 2015 and declined slightly from 2015 to 2020.
Between 2000 and 2020:
The chart shows the age-standardised trend in chronic kidney disease death rates, by cause of death type between 2000 and 2020. Chronic kidney disease death rates (as any cause of death) peaked overall in 2008 and have gradually declined since then with rates in 2020 slightly below those seen in 2008. Though death rates are consistently higher among males, the trends are similar among the sexes.
In 2020, death rates for CKD as an underlying or associated cause:
The chart shows the chronic kidney disease death rates by cause of death type age and sex in 2020. Chronic kidney disease death rates (as any cause of death) were highest among males in each age group from 55 and over and increased with increasing age, peaking among those aged 85 and over.
In 2018–2020, CKD contributed to around 1,700 deaths (as an underlying or associated cause) among Indigenous Australians and these deaths accounted for around 4.7% of all deaths due to CKD during this period.
Indigenous Australians were about 3.9 times more likely to die from CKD than non‑Indigenous Australians, after adjusting for age (196 and 50 per 100,00 population).
This difference was greater in females than in males. CKD death rates for Indigenous females and males were 4.7 and 3.3 times as high, respectively, compared with their non-Indigenous counterparts (Figure 3).
Note, for data by Indigenous status, rates are reported for 5 jurisdictions combined – New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
In 2020, the age-standardised death rate for CKD (as an underlying or associated cause of death) was higher in Remote and very remote areas and in areas with increased socioeconomic disadvantage.
The chart shows the age-standardised chronic kidney disease death rates as the underlying and/or associated cause by selected population group and sex in 2020. Overall, chronic kidney disease death rates increased with increasing levels of socioeconomic disadvantage being 1.8 times as higher among those living in the most disadvantaged areas as those living in the least disadvantaged areas. Chronic kidney disease death rates also increase with the level of remoteness being 1.8 times as high among those living in Remote and Very remote areas as Major cities.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) (2016) Incidence of end-stage kidney disease in Australia 1997–2013, catalogue number PHE 211, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 7 February 2021.
Bugnicourt JM, Godefroy O, Chillon JM, Choukroun G and Massy ZA (2013) ‘Cognitive disorders and dementia in CKD: the neglected kidney–brain axis’, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 24(3):353–363, doi:10.1681/ASN.2012050536.
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