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International Network of Chronic Kidney Disease cohort studies (iNET-CKD): a global network of chronic… Dienemann, Thomas; Fujii, Naohiko; Orlandi, Paula; Nessel, Lisa; Furth, Susan L; Hoy, Wendy E; Matsuo, Seiichi; Mayer, Gert; Methven, Shona; Schaefer, Franz; Schaeffner, Elke S; Solá, Laura; Stengel, Bénédicte; Wanner, Christoph; Zhang, Luxia; Levin, Adeera; Eckardt, Kai-Uwe; Feldman, Harold I Sep 2, 2016

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RESEARCH ARTICLE Open AccessInternational Network of Chronic KidneyDisease cohort studies (iNET-CKD): a globalnetwork of chronic kidney disease cohortsThomas Dienemann1†, Naohiko Fujii2†, Paula Orlandi2, Lisa Nessel2, Susan L. Furth3, Wendy E. Hoy4,Seiichi Matsuo5, Gert Mayer6, Shona Methven7, Franz Schaefer8, Elke S. Schaeffner9, Laura Solá10,Bénédicte Stengel11, Christoph Wanner12, Luxia Zhang13, Adeera Levin14, Kai-Uwe Eckardt1and Harold I. Feldman2,15*AbstractBackground: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a global health burden, yet it is still underrepresented within publichealth agendas in many countries. Studies focusing on the natural history of CKD are challenging to design andconduct, because of the long time-course of disease progression, a wide variation in etiologies, and a large amountof clinical variability among individuals with CKD. With the difference in health-related behaviors, healthcare delivery,genetics, and environmental exposures, this variability is greater across countries than within one locale and may notbe captured effectively in a single study.Methods: Studies were invited to join the network. Prerequisites for membership included: 1) observational designswith a priori hypotheses and defined study objectives, patient-level information, prospective data acquisition andcollection of bio-samples, all focused on predialysis CKD patients; 2) target sample sizes of 1,000 patients for adultcohorts and 300 for pediatric cohorts; and 3) minimum follow-up of three years. Participating studies were surveyedregarding design, data, and biosample resources.Results: Twelve prospective cohort studies and two registries covering 21 countries were included. Participants ageranges from >2 to >70 years at inclusion, CKD severity ranges from stage 2 to stage 5. Patient data and biosamples(not available in the registry studies) are measured yearly or biennially. Many studies included multiple ethnicities;cohort size ranges from 400 to more than 13,000 participants. Studies’ areas of emphasis all include but are not limitedto renal outcomes, such as progression to ESRD and death.(Continued on next page)* Correspondence: hfeldman@mail.med.upenn.edu†Equal contributors2Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Center for ClinicalEpidemiology and Biostatistics, Perelman School of Medicine, University ofPennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA15Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University ofPennsylvania, Philadelphia, USAFull list of author information is available at the end of the article© 2016 The Author(s). Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, andreproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link tothe Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver(http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.Dienemann et al. BMC Nephrology  (2016) 17:121 DOI 10.1186/s12882-016-0335-2(Continued from previous page)Conclusions: iNET-CKD (International Network of CKD cohort studies) was established, to promote collaborativeresearch, foster exchange of expertise, and create opportunities for research training. Participating studies have manycommonalities that will facilitate comparative research; however, we also observed substantial differences. The diversitywe observed across studies within this network will be able to be leveraged to identify genetic, behavioral, and healthservices factors associated with the course of CKD. With an emerging infrastructure to facilitate interactions among theinvestigators of iNET-CKD and a broadly defined research agenda, we are confident that there will be great opportunityfor productive collaborative investigations involving cohorts of individuals with CKD.Keywords: Cohort study, Network, CKD, Epidemiology, DiversityAbbreviations: ABI, Ankle-brachial index; ABPM, Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring; AT, Austria; CA, Canada;CH, Switzerland; CKD, Chronic kidney disease; CZ, Czech Republic; DE, Germany; ECG, electrocardiogram;Echocardio, echocardiogram; eGFR, estimated glomerular filtration rate; ESRD, End-stage renal disease; FR, France;GB, United Kingdom; HU, Hungary; IT, Italy; LT, Lithuania; NL, Netherlands; PL, Poland; PT, Portugal; PWV, Pulsewave velocity; RS, Serbia; SW, Sweden; TR, Turkey; US, United StatesBackgroundChronic kidney disease (CKD) represents a large burdenof morbidity across the globe affecting between 10 and16 % of all adults [1–6]. Importantly, CKD has beenidentified to substantially elevate the risk of cardiovascu-lar disease and mortality [7]. When diagnosed early, pro-gression of CKD can be delayed, postponing the potentnegative impact of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) onquality of life and survival. Despite the size of the bur-den, CKD is under-acknowledged as a public health con-cern. While it is well recognized that CKD augments therisk for cardiovascular disease [8], it is often not men-tioned in public health agendas, thus limiting researchopportunities from public funding agencies.Because the natural history of CKD is often long, CKDis challenging to study. Its etiologies are numerous andsome are rare. Outcomes from CKD such as dialysis andtransplantation may take years to occur, and over thattime, intercurrent illness, health behaviors, and environ-mental exposures may alter its course, accelerate its pro-gression, and lead to premature death from cardiovasculardisease. Further, there is a large amount of clinical variabil-ity among individuals with CKD making yet more complexthe design and conduct of clinical studies, with or withoutinterventions. This variability is yet greater across nationalboundaries than within any one locale in light of theassociated variations in health-related behaviors, health-care delivery, genetics and environmental exposures.An improved understanding of the natural history ofCKD, of factors associated with its progression and theoccurrence of morbid complications, as well as its im-pact on quality of life, is urgently required. This detailedunderstanding is essential if we are to design robustinterventional studies, and potentially improve the out-comes of those living with CKD.Well-designed cohort studies permit rigorous trackingof individual patients over time. There are numerousexamples of important long-term cohort studies in car-diovascular disease (Framingham Heart Study, Nurses’Health Study, etc.). Several large cohort studies have alsocollected a limited set of kidney function parameters andhelped us to understand CKD prevalence and associa-tions between CKD and cardiovascular disease. More re-cently, a number of cohort studies focused on CKD havebeen implemented in different parts of the world. Theseprospective studies have many similarities, and in gen-eral, aim to investigate the factors associated with pro-gression of CKD and its negative health consequences.The purpose of this paper is to describe the currentstate of these national and regional cohort studies, cur-rently organized in a ‘virtual‘ network called iNET-CKD,to form the basis for collaborative research and researchtraining in CKD. We describe the criteria for member-ship in this network, contrast the current member stud-ies, and highlight the types of questions this network iswell-positioned to address.MethodsHistory of the networkBuilding on informal collaborations among the CRICstudy (USA), CKD-JAC (Japan), GCKD (Germany) and C-Stride (China), members of this network participated in a2010 NIH-sponsored “inventory meeting” of ongoingstudies of CKD around the globe. A formal call for partici-pation was organized in 2011, by investigators from CRICand GCKD, and leveraging knowledge of other establishedcohorts, using some general criteria (listed below). Withfacilitation and endorsement by the ISN in 2012, theiNET-CKD network was formally established.Goals of the iNET-CKD (Fig. 1)Collaborative researchPerhaps most important, the network strives to promoteopportunities for joint research involving two or moreDienemann et al. BMC Nephrology  (2016) 17:121 Page 2 of 9network members. These collaborations include thework on common research questions, either throughmerging of existing data or through joint analyses ofbio-samples. We also hope to increase interest in studiesto validate one another’s findings. This research will per-mit examination of different patterns of disease aroundthe globe and expand our understanding of the diversityof clinical manifestations of CKD.Exchange of expertiseThe second task of this network is to create an atmos-phere where research groups can provide assistance toone another for advice and guidance concerning ques-tions and problems related to study design and imple-mentation. Shared information at basic levels of studydesign, such as data structure and variable definitions,will enhance the interpretability of analyses integratingdata from multiple cohort studies. Creating an environ-ment for sharing analytical methods and funding oppor-tunities will benefit the cohort studies in the networkand promote their ability to extend their scope throughdevelopment of ancillary studies. Using web-based com-munication tools among members of the network, wewill be able to exchange ideas and have access to a web-site where questions can be posted.TrainingThis network also seeks to facilitate training opportun-ities for young investigators at sites with sufficient infra-structure to support such training. As well, the networkpromotes opportunities for experienced researchers tovisit other network sights as visiting scholars and profes-sors. Training opportunities offer sustainability and suc-cession planning to all members, which is essential forongoing support.Criteria for CKD Cohort Inclusion in the iNET-CKDThrough a consensus-building exercise, a set of commonattributes have been defined as prerequisites for mem-bership into the network. These include: 1) observationalresearch designs with a priori hypotheses and definedstudy objectives, patient-level information, and prospect-ive data collection including a broad spectrum of CKD-related health outcomes and bio-samples, all focused onpredialysis CKD patients; 2) a minimum sample size of1000 patients for adult cohorts and 300 for studies ofchildren; and 3) a minimum follow-up time of threeyears. Not included in the network are studies: 1) thatfocus only on ESRD patients; 2) of the general popula-tion; and 3) that are randomized controlled trials, whichmay have targeted highly selected patient groups thatmay not represent the larger CKD patient population(Table 1). As a result, iNET-CKD primarily includes pro-spective observational studies of predialysis CKD patients;however, due to the first and second aims mentionedabove, it also facilitates tiered membership levels forFig. 1 Three key goals of iNET-CKDTable 1 Inclusion and exclusion criteriaInclusion criteria Exclusion criteria• Observational studies of CKD • ESRD cohorts▪ Based on a priori hypotheses andstudy objectives• General population cohorts▪ Study individuals with CKD • Randomized controlled trials▪ Collect longitudinal data prospectively • Clinical databases▪ Examine a broad spectrum ofCKD-related health outcomes▪ Collect and analyze bio-samples• Sample size ≥1000 in adult studies and≥300 in pediatric studies• Duration of follow up ≥3 yearsDienemann et al. BMC Nephrology  (2016) 17:121 Page 3 of 9regional registries of CKD patients or well-designed retro-spective cohort studies for which all inclusion criteria havenot been met.Online questionnaireTo catalog participating studies, we sent out an onlinesurvey to 15 prescreened study groups in January 2014,in addition to scanning published protocols and baselinepapers of each study. The questionnaire included 121questions about general information of the study design(e.g. size, locale, duration, goals, and inclusion/exclusioncriteria), baseline demographics (e.g. age, sex, estimatedglomerular filtration rate (eGFR) levels, and availabilityof information on socioeconomic status, comorbidities,and lifestyle risks), laboratory measurements (e.g. avail-ability and frequency of measurements), sample collec-tions, imaging studies, and outcome information. Datafrom each study’s principal investigator were obtainedelectronically. If needed, data were updated throughpublications and direct contact with the individual studygroups. Each study was approved by its respective insti-tutional review boards. No additional approval was ob-tained to gather summary information for this report, anactivity that involved no additional collection of infor-mation from study participants.ResultsParticipating studiesPrincipal investigators from 14 studies, including 12 co-hort studies, responded to the survey and consented toparticipation. As a result, the network currently has en-rolled 14 studies operating in 21 different countries inAsia, Europe, Australia and North America (Fig. 2).Some of these cohort studies are still enrolling; hence theexact number of study participants continues to grow.Apart from the 12 cohort studies, this network, as men-tioned above, also includes large registry studies fromUruguay and Australia, where patients are entered in adatabase by healthcare providers who participate in theNational Renal Healthcare Program (NRHP-Uruguay) andthe Queensland Health Renal services, respectively. As ofSeptember 30, 2015, this network included nearly 32,000patients from cohort studies and 20,000, from registries.Target populations of the participating studiesTable 2 summarizes the characteristics of the targetpopulation for each study. Some studies have very nar-row eGFR inclusion ranges. However, it is obvious thatthis study group, as a whole, includes CKD patients witha wide range of renal function. CKiD and the 4C Studywere designed exclusively for pediatric CKD patients.Both registry-type studies, the CKD.QLD and theFig. 2 Participating studies in iNET-CKD. Countries in red represent origin of study. Blue circles represent corresponding sample size. Abbreviations: AT,Austria; CA, Canada; CH, Switzerland; CZ, Czech Republic; DE, Germany; FR, France; GB, United Kingdom; HU, Hungary; IT, Italy; LT, Lithuania;NL, Netherlands; PL, Poland; PT, Portugal; RS, Serbia; SW, Sweden; TR, Turkey; US, United States. This figure was obtained courtesy of MicrosoftOffice website (https://templates.office.com/en-us/Maps). No additional permission is required for its useDienemann et al. BMC Nephrology  (2016) 17:121 Page 4 of 9NRHP-Uruguay, only include adult CKD patients (18 yearsor older). Most studies include multiple ethnicities; how-ever, several such as BIS, CKD-JAC, GCKD, and Triple-A,only include a single ethnicity. All studies have enrolledparticipants from multiple centers that were, in many butnot all cases, academic facilities.Kidney measures, baseline covariates, and follow-upintervalsAll participating studies have either biennial or annualfollow-up, which includes serum creatinine and urinealbumin-to-creatinine ratios or urine protein-to-creatinineratios. Despite lack of standardization of measurements ofcommon laboratory parameters, calibration may beachieved through exchange of samples and detailed de-scriptions of the collection process. All studies have dataon potential confounders of associations between kidneyfunction and outcomes. Among these are: age, race/ethni-city, smoking, history of cardiovascular disease, diabetesmellitus, hypertension status, and body mass index. Fur-thermore, all studies collect data on medications and all,except one, on hospitalization. Although major laboratoryparameters, such as serum creatinine and albumin, are be-ing measured annually in most studies, there is some het-erogeneity in the data collection with regard to imagingstudies (Table 3). Six studies have collected echocardio-grams, while two and six studies have collected ankle-Table 2 Summary table for characteristics of the target populations of participating studies in iNET-CKDTable 3 Summary table for imaging studies in the participatingstudiesStudy ECG Echocardio ABI ABPM PWVBIS - - - + +CanPREDDICT + + - - -CKD.QLD - - - - -CKD-JAC + + + + +CKD-REIN - + + - -CKiD - + - + +CRIC + + + + +C-STRIDE + + - + +EQUAL + - - - -GCKD - - - - +PROVALID - - - - -NRHP-Uruguay - - - - -Triple-A + - - - -4C Study + + - + +Abbreviations: ECG electrocardiogram, Echocardio echocardiogram, ABI ankle-brachial index, ABPM ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, PWV pulse wavevelocity. Note that all of these imaging studies are notperformed systematicallyDienemann et al. BMC Nephrology  (2016) 17:121 Page 5 of 9brachial index (ABI) and pulse wave velocity (PWV) data,respectively.Collection of biosamplesMost studies have collected bio-samples. Figure 3 sum-marizes blood sample collection across the studies, orga-nized by the type of blood samples preserved andwhether samples are available for further analyses forharmonization of the laboratory markers or for themeasurement of novel, common biomarkers. Some stud-ies are preserving buffy coats from which genetic infor-mation may be extracted, while other studies, such asCRIC, CKiD, BIS, and GCKD, have already collectedDNA samples for genetic analyses. In CRIC and CKiD,hair and/or nails have also been collected for chemicalanalyses. Blood and urine sample collections have beendone not only at baseline, but also at follow-up visit re-peatedly in most studies (Table 4).Outcome variablesAll studies collect information on renal outcomes, e.g.progression to ESRD (initiation of dialysis or kidneytransplantation), doubling of creatinine, as well as car-diovascular events (myocardial infarction, heart failure,stroke, etc.), cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mor-tality (Additional file 1: Table S1). Adjudication of theseoutcomes, to some extent, is conducted in each of thesestudies, although there is not a uniform method bywhich this is done (Additional file 2: Table S2).DiscussionCommonalities and differencesParticipating studies have many commonalities that willfacilitate comparative research. Nevertheless, there arealso major differences. Some have very unrestricted in-clusion criteria in terms of age, race, and renal function(e.g. CanPREDDICT, CKD-REIN, and CRIC). Amongthese, the CRIC study, however, only includes adult pa-tients. CKiD, another US-based study, examines CKDFig. 3 Graphical summary of blood sample collections in the participating studies. The plus or minus signs following the study names denote theavailability of residual samples for further analysesTable 4 Summary table for the presence and frequency ofblood and urine samplingsStudy Blood Samples Urine SamplesBaseline Follow up Baseline Follow upBIS + <1/year + <1/yearCanPREDDICT - ≥1/year - ≥1/yearCKD.QLD - - - -CKD-JAC + ≥1/year + -CKD-REIN + <1/year + <1/yearCKiD + ≥1/year + ≥1/yearCRIC + ≥1/year + ≥1/yearC-STRIDE + ≥1/year + ≥1/yearEQUAL + ≥1/year + ≥1/yearGCKD + <1/year + <1/yearPROVALID + ≥1/year + ≥1/yearNRHP-Uruguay - - - -Triple-A + - + -4C Study + ≥1/year + ≥1/yearDienemann et al. BMC Nephrology  (2016) 17:121 Page 6 of 9specifically in children ages 1 through 16, which coverssome of the age-range missing in the CRIC study cohort.On the other hand, BIS, a study based in Berlin, Germany,only included patients aged ≥70 years. Principally due torelatively homogenous populations, some studies fromEurope and Asia include only Caucasians (e.g. GCKD) orAsians (e.g. CKD-JAC or C-STRIDE), while others areethnically diverse (e.g. CRIC).Furthermore, some studies focus on more severestages of renal disease. The EQUAL study, based in sixEuropean countries, includes patients with an eGFR of≤20 ml/min who are 65 years or older. PROVALID, an-other multi-country study based in Europe, is limited toinvestigating renal endpoints in subjects with type 2diabetes.StructureiNET-CKD is an open network. Central coordination issupported by the ISN, which provides administrative ser-vices and facilitates linkages with regional boards and pro-grams, including research programs, training opportunitiesamongst others (http://www.theisn.org/initiatives/inet-ckd).As an international organization committed to linking thedeveloped and developing world, and to excellence in sci-ence and education, the ISN is uniquely positioned tofacilitate this initiative, while the leadership of the groupmaintains the scientific autonomy for goal-setting withinthe group of iNET-CKD participating studies.Specific features of iNET-CKD as compared with otherCKD consortiaThe creation of this iNET-CKD will provide a uniqueopportunity for a scientific exchange among CKD inves-tigators around the globe, as well as to enhance trainingopportunities for young researchers. The diversity rep-resented within the network will facilitate the iden-tification of yet-unknown factors (genetic, health-relatedbehaviors, healthcare delivery) associated with the devel-opment and the course of CKD. Such findings may notonly have implications for clinical care of patients withCKD but also for health policy makers.The prospective design of the participating studies isassociated with a high quality of study data and the po-tential to combine study samples across the network willenhance the ability to examine multiple health outcomesrelated to CKD.iNET-CKD is not the only network with the goal to ad-vance research in CKD; there are a number of disease-specific cohort studies and consortia, such as NEPTUNE[9] and INSIGHT [10] for nephrotic syndrome and collab-orative studies on genetic epidemiology in IgA nephropathy[11], CKD (CKDGen [12]), and pediatric nephrology [13].However, few studies include a wide range of CKD patients.The Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium (CKD-PC), established in 2009, is a network of investigators whohave access to a minimum set of data from about fifty co-horts or clinical trial populations from around the worlddrawn from the general-population, populations at high-risk for kidney disease, and populations with CKD [14].The ability to process information from a diverse set ofdata, using common analytic plans and codes has proven tobe a valuable asset in CKD research studying the prog-nostic impact of eGFR and albuminuria, as well as es-tablishing the staging of CKD and helping to revisepractice guidelines [15]. Complementary to the CKD-PC, iNET-CKD primarily focuses on CKD cohort stud-ies, involving patients with well-phenotyped CKD usingextensive patient-level data,and biosamples. Rather thanimplementing meta-analyses, we seek opportunities tocombine primary data from different groups to imple-ment joint analyses. Moreover, iNET-CKD focuses ondiverse CKD-related outcomes well beyond progressionof CKD and mortality. The granularity of the collecteddata is very high, and biomaterials are available in al-most all participating cohorts, which present the oppor-tunity for coordinated analysis of biomarkers, and serveas an important resource for comparative studies andvalidation of findings. Projects in the near future in-volve observations on international variations in dietarypatterns related to dietary constituents such as phos-phate and sodium as well as variations in clinical strat-egies for the management of CKD and their respectiveeffects on variations in CKD outcomes.Strengths and limitationsThe variation in inclusion criteria is one of the majorstrengths of this network. The studied populations aregenetically distinct, which will give insight on possiblegenetic determinants of CKD. Furthermore, these popula-tions also greatly differ with respect to health behaviors,healthcare delivery, and environments. For example, dif-ferent utilization of medications may play a role in therapidity of progression of CKD in some studies. This net-work will provide the opportunity to examine the sameethnicities in multiple countries, providing insights intothe specific role of health behaviors and healthcare deliv-ery in CKD outcomes.This network of cohort studies has certain limitations.While commonalities in study design will facilitate jointprojects, inconsistencies in the definition and capture ofvariables as well as adjudication of outcomes can com-plicate analyses. Second, races and ethnicities, other thanBlacks, Whites and Asians, are underrepresented in ourcohorts. Almost all Blacks are African American, andcome from North American cohorts. Asians are pre-dominantly Eastern Asian in C-Stride and CKD-JAC,while in EQUAL, South Asians; however, the sample sizeof South Asians may not be sufficient for stratifiedDienemann et al. BMC Nephrology  (2016) 17:121 Page 7 of 9analyses. We, therefore, hope to include emerging stud-ies from India and the African continent in the future.ConclusionIn summary, this network will aid joint research in thefield of CKD around the globe. With an emerging infra-structure to facilitate interactions among investigators,the commitment of currently involved investigators toensure responsible use of the data, and a broadly definedresearch agenda, we are confident that there will be on-going development of new cohort studies around theglobe that will join iNET-CKD. This international net-work will be in an exceptional position to validate find-ings across geographical and national boundaries, to testhypotheses and to generate new understanding of CKDprogression and its complications. These, in turn, can beused to inform clinical trials, potentially serve as asource of patients for clinical trials, and help to informhealth policy.Additional filesAdditional file 1: Table S1. Summary of study designs and primaryoutcomes of interest. Provides an overview of the study designs andprimary outcomes of interest for each iNET-CKD Study. Abbreviations: CKD,chronic kidney disease; ESRD, end-stage renal disease; CVD, cardiovasculardisease; PWV, pulse wave velocity. (TIF 635 kb)Additional file 2: Table S2. Summary of baseline covariates,measurements, and event ascertainment among participating studies.Provides a summary of baseline covariates, study measurements, andevent ascertainment activities for each iNET-CKD study. Abbreviations:IDMS Cr, IDMS-calibrated serum creatinine; ACR, urinary albumin-to-creatinineratio; PCR, urinary protein-to-creatinine ratio; CVD, cardiovascular disease;BMI, body mass index. (TIF 1106 kb)AcknowledgementsThe Berlin Initiative Study (BIS) [16] (http://bis.charite.de): Elke S. Schaeffner,Natalie Ebert; Canadian Study of Prediction of Death, Dialysis and InterimCardiovascular Events (CanPREDDICT) [17] : Adeera Levin, Mila Tang; ChronicKidney Disease Surveillance and Research in Queensland, Australia (CKD.QLD)[18] (http://www.ckdqld.org): Wendy E. Hoy, Anne Salisbury; Chronic KidneyDisease Japan Cohort Study (CKD-JAC) [19, 20] (https://upload.umin.ac.jp/cgi-open-bin/ctr_e/ctr_view.cgi?recptno=R000023138): Seiichi Matsuo, AkiraHishida; The French Chronic Kidney Disease-Renal Epidemiology and Infor-mation Network (CKD-REIN) [21] (https://ckdrein.inserm.fr/): Bénédicte Stengel(coordinator), Christian Jacquelinet, Bruce Robinson, Christian Combe, Ziad A.Massy, Briancon S, Fouque D, Laville M, Frimat L, Pascal C, Herpe YE, Deleuze JF,Morel P, Schanstra J; Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) [22] (http://state-pi.jhsph.edu/ckid): Susan L. Furth, Judith Jerry-Fluker; Chronic Renal InsufficiencyCohort (CRIC) [23, 24] (http://www.cristudy.org): Harold I. Feldman; The ChineseCohort Study of Chronic Kidney Disease (C-STRIDE) [25] : Minghui Zhao, LuxiaZhang; The European Quality Study on Treatment in Advanced Chronic KidneyDisease (EQUAL) [26] (http://www.equal-study.org): Kitty Jager, Friedo Dekker,Christoph Wanner; The German Chronic Kidney Disease (GCKD) Cohort [27, 28](http://www.gckd.org): Kai-Uwe Eckardt, Heike Meiselbach; Multi-national Pro-spective Cohort Study in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes for Validation of Bio-markers (PROVALID): Gert Mayer; The National Renal Healthcare Program(NRHP)-Uruguay [29, 30] : Laura Solá; The Triple A Kidney Project (Triple-A):Shona Methven; The Cardiovascular Comorbidity in Children with Chronic Kid-ney Disease (4C) Study [31] (http://www.4c-study.org): Franz Schaefer, UweQuerfeld;For further information, see http://www.theisn.org/initiatives/inet-ckd orinquire at research@theisn.org.FundingNo funding was obtained for this study.Availability of data and materialsThe survey data reported in this manuscript reside in a REDCap database atthe University of Pennsylvania. Requests for more detailed aspects of thesedata than appear in this manuscript can be submitted to the iNET-CKD(research@theisn.org).Authors’ contributionTD and NF designed and conducted the survey, performed data cleaning, andevaluated and summarized the data. TD drafted the first manuscript and NFmodified and finalized the draft after receiving input from all other co-authors.PO helped with data management, contributed to the design of tables andfigures, and participated in the drafting of the manuscript. LN advised thedesign of the survey, organized the committees for iNET-CKD, and participatedin the drafting of the manuscript. AL, KUE, and HF managed and supervised allaspects of this project, provided important input into the design and conductof the survey, and participated in the drafting of the manuscript. WH, SM5, SM7,FS, ES, LS, BS, CW, and LZ all provided data for this project and participated inthe drafting of this manuscript.Competing interestsTD and NF were funded for tuition at University of Philadelphia by theEuropean Nephrology and Dialysis Institute and Kyowa-Hakko-Kirin (KHK),respectively. BS received expert honoraria from Merck Sharp & Dohme-Chibret(MSD France). HF received advisory and expert honoraria from KHK,GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Boehringer Ingelheim. All the other authorsdeclared no competing interests. CKD.QLD is funded by public andprivate entities including Queensland Health, the Australian NHMRC,AMGEN, Roche, Shire, Janssen and Genzyme-Sanofi. CKD-JAC was sponsored byKHK. The CKD-REIN study is funded by a public private partnership presentlyinvolving Amgen, Baxter, Fresenius Medical Care, Lilly, MSD, and Otsuka, andpreviously also, GSK and Genzyme-Sanofi. PROVALID is sponsored in part by agrant from AbbVie provided to the sponsor of the study which is MedicalUniversity Innsbruck. The Triple A Kidney project was part-funded by anunrestricted educational grant from Bristol Myers Squibb.Consent for publicationNot applicable.Ethics approval and consent to participateThe data we collected in this study did not include any individual-levelinformation; therefore, this study was exempt from obtaining individualconsent from participants of each participating study. The protocols of allparticipating studies have been reviewed and approved by the local ethicscommittee prior to their obtaining human data and materials.Author details1Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, University ofErlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany. 2Department of Biostatistics andEpidemiology, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, PerelmanSchool of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA. 3Division ofPediatric Nephrology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, USA.4Centre for Chronic Disease, School of Medicine, University of Queensland,Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. 5Department of Nephrology, NagoyaUniversity Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan. 6Nephrology andHypertension, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria. 7School ofClinical Sciences, University of Bristol, Southmead Hospital,Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, UK. 8Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Center forPediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg,Germany. 9Institute of Public Health, Charite University Medicine, Berlin,Germany. 10Directora Division Epidemiologia, DIGESA-Ministerio SaludPublica, Montevideo, Uruguay. 11Université Paris-Saclay, Univ Paris-Sud, UVSQ,CESP, Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Inserm,F-CRIN-INI-CRCT, Villejuif, France. 12Department of Internal Medicine I,Division of Nephrology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany. 13RenalDivision, Department of Medicine, Peking University First Hospital, PekingUniversity Institute of Nephrology, Beijing, China. 14Division of Nephrology,Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia,Dienemann et al. BMC Nephrology  (2016) 17:121 Page 8 of 9Vancouver, BC, Canada. 15Department of Medicine, Perelman School ofMedicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.Received: 26 April 2016 Accepted: 17 August 2016References1. Mills KT, Xu Y, Zhang W, Bundy JD, Chen CS, Kelly TN, Chen J, He J. Asystematic analysis of worldwide population-based data on the globalburden of chronic kidney disease in 2010. Kidney Int. 2015;88(5):950–7.2. Hallan SI, Coresh J, Astor BC, Asberg A, Powe NR, Romundstad S, Hallan HA,Lydersen S, Holmen J. International comparison of the relationship ofchronic kidney disease prevalence and ESRD risk. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006;17(8):2275–84.3. Chadban SJ, Briganti EM, Kerr PG, Dunstan DW, Welborn TA, Zimmet PZ,Atkins RC. Prevalence of kidney damage in Australian adults: The AusDiabkidney study. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2003;14(7 Suppl 2):S131–138.4. Wen CP, Cheng TY, Tsai MK, Chang YC, Chan HT, Tsai SP, Chiang PH, Hsu CC,Sung PK, Hsu YH, et al. 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Disease burden and risk profile in referred patients withmoderate chronic kidney disease: composition of the German ChronicKidney Disease (GCKD) cohort. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2015;30(3):441–51.29. Mazzuchi N, Schwedt E, Sola L, Gonzalez C, Ferreiro A. Risk factors andprevention of end stage renal disease in Uruguay. Ren Fail. 2006;28(8):617–25.30. Schwedt E, Sola L, Rios PG, Mazzuchi N. Improving the management ofchronic kidney disease in Uruguay: a National renal healthcare program.Nephron Clin Pract. 2010;114(1):c47–59.31. Querfeld U, Anarat A, Bayazit AK, Bakkaloglu AS, Bilginer Y, Caliskan S,Civilibal M, Doyon A, Duzova A, Kracht D, et al. The CardiovascularComorbidity in Children with Chronic Kidney Disease (4C) study: objectives,design, and methodology. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010;5(9):1642–8.•  We accept pre-submission inquiries •  Our selector tool helps you to find the most relevant journal•  We provide round the clock customer support •  Convenient online submission•  Thorough peer review•  Inclusion in PubMed and all major indexing services •  Maximum visibility for your researchSubmit your manuscript atwww.biomedcentral.com/submitSubmit your next manuscript to BioMed Central and we will help you at every step:Dienemann et al. BMC Nephrology  (2016) 17:121 Page 9 of 9

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