Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

  • Many terms are used interchangeably with CKD. The most common are chronic renal insufficiency (CRI), progressive renal insufficiency (PRI) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The Kidney Foundation of Canada (KFoC), the Canadian Society of Nephrology (CSN), the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), and the Canadian Association of Nephrology Nurses and Technologists (CANNT) use the term chronic kidney disease (CKD). In keeping with this practice, CKD is therefore used throughout this guideline.
  • CKD is defined as kidney damage or a glomerular filtration rate of < 60ml/ min/1.73m2 for three or more months, irrespective of cause (Canadian Society of Nephrology [CSN], 2007; Levey et al., 2003)
  • Though serum creatinine levels may be used to assess kidney function, when used alone they are an inaccurate marker.
  • The eGFR is a calculation used to estimate the volume of fluid the kidneys filter based on a standard body mass index.
  • CKD is divided into five stages (manifestations of CKD will vary among individuals). See Stages of CKD for details.
  • Leading causes of CKD include diabetes (34.4%), vascular disease (19.5%), unknown cause (12.9%) and glomerulonephritis (11.6%) (CIHI, 2008).
  • CKD is a progressive disease that may be viewed along a continuum. At present, there is no cure. CKD management focuses on early detection and treatment that may delay or slow the rate of progression and reduce the incidence of adverse health outcomes.
  • One of the goals in the treatment of CKD is to provide patients with the education and support needed in order to encourage active participation in their care.


Chronic Disease
Decision Support for Adults Living with Chronic Kidney Disease
Background Information