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What should I know about creatinine and creatinine clearance blood tests?

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Creatinine is a waste product from the normal breakdown of muscle tissue. As creatinine is produced, it's filtered through the kidneys and excreted in urine. Doctors measure the blood creatinine level as a test of kidney function. The kidneys' ability to handle creatinine is called the creatinine clearance rate, which helps to estimate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) -- the rate of blood flow through the kidneys.

SOURCES:
Brenner, B. Brenner & Rector's The Kidney, 8th Edition, Saunders Elsevier, 2007. 
National Kidney Foundation web site: "Chronic Kidney Disease."

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 Hansa D. Bhargava on July 28, 2020

SOURCES:
Brenner, B. Brenner & Rector's The Kidney, 8th Edition, Saunders Elsevier, 2007. 
National Kidney Foundation web site: "Chronic Kidney Disease."

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 Hansa D. Bhargava on July 28, 2020

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What is the glomerular filtration rate (GFR)?

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