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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Chronic Kidney Disease. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Glomerular Filtration Rate

Assessing glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of the kidneys is a major component in evaluating renal function. The GFR is generally defined as the rate at which the kidneys filter plasma constituents through the glomerular capillary membranes into the Bowman's capsule. GFR is typically reported in milliliters of plasma per minute (mL/min) and is corrected for body surface area. A normal value for GFR is ~125 mL/min/1.73 m2. Decreases are associated with various conditions, both benign and pathologic.
GFR is determined through one of two methods:
  • Direct measurement using an infused compound
  • Estimating equations using endogenous biomarkers for reference
Whichever method used, an ideal marker for measuring (or estimating) glomerular filtration is:
  • Freely filtered at the glomerulus
  • Of low molecular weight and water soluble
  • Not bound by plasma proteins
  • Not reabsorbed, secreted or metabolized by kidney tubules
  • Not eliminated through a process outside the kidney