The number of newly reported cases of end-stage renal disease appears to be showing early signs of declining.
Although nearly twice as many people in the U.S. were diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in 2012 compared with 20 years ago, the number of new cases diagnosed annually has fallen since 2010. That year, 115,633 new cases were identified. In 2011, the number had dropped nearly 2% to 113,343. In 2012, the number had once again risen slightly to 114,813, but was still down from 2010's peak.
That's according to data compiled and analyzed by the U.S. Renal Data System, which also found that despite the declining incidence rate (number of new cases) the prevalence (number of existing cases) continues to climb. However, prevalence of the disease has been climbing at its slowest rate in three decades.
In 2012, 636,905 patients were being treated for end-stage renal disease, up 3.7% from the prior year. But in earlier years, the growth in total cases has averaged 5.4% and been as high as 9.3%.
“While the prevalence of ESRD continues to rise, the trend over the past decade indicates that ESRD incidence may have plateaued after increasing for many years,” researchers at the USRDS wrote in their 2014 annual data report. “If these incidence and prevalence trends are substantiated in coming years, this would be good news indeed as it implies likely improvements in prevention of ESRD as well as longer survival among patients who have reached ESRD.”
Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden