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What is creatinine and creatinine clearance?

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Creatinine is a waste product that is produced continuously during normal muscle breakdown. The kidneys filter creatinine from the blood into the urine, and reabsorb almost none of it.

The amount of blood cleaned of creatinine by your kidneys is called the creatinine clearance. Creatinine clearance in a healthy young person is about 95 milliliters per minute for women/120 milliliters per minute for men. This means that each minute, that person's kidneys clear 95-120 mL of blood free of creatinine. The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) can vary depending on age, sex, and size. Generally, the creatinine clearance is a good estimation of the glomerular filtration rate.

SOURCES: Brenner, B. Saunders Elsevier, 2007.  National Kidney Foundation web site: "Chronic Kidney Disease."

Brenner & Rector's The Kidney, 8th Edition,

National Kidney Foundation web site: "Key Points: Living With Stage 4 Kidney Disease."

Johns Hopkins Medicine web site: "Health Library: 24-Hour Urine Collection."

Family Practice Notebook web site: "Creatinine Clearance."

UpToDate.com literature review: "Reciprocal serum creatinine concentration and chronic kidney disease" and "Definition and staging of chronic kidney disease in adults."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on October 22, 2017

SOURCES: Brenner, B. Saunders Elsevier, 2007.  National Kidney Foundation web site: "Chronic Kidney Disease."

Brenner & Rector's The Kidney, 8th Edition,

National Kidney Foundation web site: "Key Points: Living With Stage 4 Kidney Disease."

Johns Hopkins Medicine web site: "Health Library: 24-Hour Urine Collection."

Family Practice Notebook web site: "Creatinine Clearance."

UpToDate.com literature review: "Reciprocal serum creatinine concentration and chronic kidney disease" and "Definition and staging of chronic kidney disease in adults."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on October 22, 2017

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