BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES - Inaccurate determination of baseline kidney function can misclassify acute kidney injury (AKI) and affect the study of AKI-related outcomes. No consensus exists on how to optimally determine baseline kidney function when multiple preadmission creatinine measurements are available.
DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS - The accuracy of commonly used methods for estimating baseline serum creatinine was compared with that of a reference standard adjudicated by a panel of board-certified nephrologists in 379 patients with AKI or CKD admitted to a tertiary referral center.
RESULTS - Agreement between estimating methods and the reference standard was highest when using creatinine values measured 7-365 days before admission. During this interval, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for the mean outpatient serum creatinine level (0.91 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.88-0.92]) was higher than the most recent outpatient (ICC, 0.84 [95% CI, 0.80-0.88]; P<0.001) and the nadir outpatient (ICC, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.76-0.87; P<0.001) serum creatinine. Using the final creatinine value from a prior inpatient admission increased the ICC of the most recent outpatient creatinine method (0.88 [95% CI, 0.85-0.91]). Performance of all methods declined or was unchanged when the time interval was broadened to 2 years or included serum creatinine measured within a week of admission.
CONCLUSIONS - The mean outpatient serum creatinine measured within a year of hospitalization most closely approximates nephrologist-adjudicated serum creatinine values.