Bioanalysis Zone

Kidney disease could be diagnosed with a simple saliva test


A simple saliva test highlighted at ASN Kidney Week 2016 (15–20 November, Chicago, IL, USA) may be helpful in diagnosing kidney disease, especially in developing countries.

With a lack of simple and non-expensive tools for the diagnosis of renal disease, Viviane Calice‑Silva (Pro-Kidney Foundation, Brazil) and colleagues have evaluated the diagnostic performance of a salivary urea nitrogen (SUN) dipstick in a low-resource setting in Africa.

On admission to general medicine at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital QECH in Blantyre (Malawi), adult patients were screened for kidney disease with serum creatinine and SUN. Patients with renal impairment were then followed-up for up to 7 days.

Of the 742 patients studied, 146 patients were diagnosed with kidney disease based on standard tests (according to serum creatinine criteria) and elevated SUN levels were associated with the standard diagnostic tests. SUN also appeared to be an independent predictor of mortality in the population studied.

“Our data suggest that SUN can improve the detection of kidney disease, increasing the awareness to this devastating complication,” said Calice-Silva.

“Also, higher awareness and detection of kidney disease in low resource settings may increase the number of patients who are diagnosed and referred, therefore providing appropriate treatment and improving outcomes.”



Calice‑Silva V,  Evans RDR, Raimann JG et al. Saliva Urea Nitrogen Dipstick: A Simple Tool to Detect and Stratify Risk of Renal Disease in Low Resource Settings [ABSTRACT FR-OR125]. Presented at: American Society of Nephrology, Kidney Week 2016, Chicago, IL, USA, 15–20 November 2016.

Simple saliva test may help clinicians diagnose kidney disease.


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