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    Patent Pending

    Revised Schwartz Equation for Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) (2009)

    Estimates GFR in pediatric patients.
    When to Use
    Why Use

    Use in infants, children, and adolescents with or without chronic kidney disease (CKD).  

    • Although the original formula was designed using data from a cohort of children without CKD, the revised equation (used here) has been shown to apply to populations of children with CKD with relatively high accuracy.
    • This formula is inaccurate in acute kidney injury (AKI), as GFR in AKI has not reached a steady state. Only in children with normal renal function or established CKD does GFR reach a steady state that can be estimated by using this formula.
    • Neonates have higher normal values of serum creatinine than do older infants and children, as maternal creatinine may circulate in the neonate for several days after birth. Children have lower normal levels of creatinine compared to adolescents and adults because of their smaller muscle mass. Use caution in interpreting serum creatinine levels in children, as levels considered normal in adults and adolescents may be elevated and indicative of impaired renal function in younger children.
    • A k value of 0.413 is more accurate for labs that use enzymatic methods (as opposed to the Jaffe method) to determine serum creatinine levels.
    • Determines stage and severity of kidney dysfunction in children. 
    • Helps in adjusting medication doses according to renal function. 
    • Can provide prognostic information for children with CKD and identify potential candidates for renal replacement therapy (generally, eGFR <15).
    • The newer CKiD equation, which requires BUN and cystatin-C in addition to serum creatinine, may overestimate GFR, as cystatin-C is not as well standardized as serum creatinine. Cystatin-C is also less widely available than serum creatinine.


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    Next Steps
    Creator Insights


    Nephrotoxic medications may require renal dosing. Different dose adjustments may be required based upon the degree of renal functional impairment.


    • Urine output is an important consideration in interpreting estimates of GFR. Anuric patients are more immediately concerning and may require renal replacement therapy (RRT) to avoid severe electrolyte disturbances, arrhythmias, and seizures.
    • Consider renal ultrasound in children with newly-diagnosed CKD to evaluate for congenital renal malformation or other genetic issues such as polycystic kidney disease.
    • GFR <15 indicates end-stage renal disease and will likely require RRT.

    Critical Actions

    Remember that serum creatinine levels may be elevated initially after birth as neonates’ kidneys work to clear out maternal creatinine. Infants’ and children’s creatinine levels are much lower than those in adults. A creatinine value of 1.0 mg/dL, considered normal in an adult male, may indicate renal impairment in a male child.

    Content Contributors
    Reviewed By
    • Juan Kupferman, MD
    About the Creator
    Dr. George J. Schwartz
    Are you Dr. George J. Schwartz?
    Content Contributors
    Reviewed By
    • Juan Kupferman, MD