Cleveland Clinic nephrologists are experts at evaluating and managing chronic kidney disease (CKD). An innovative team-care model addresses the life cycle of the disease. The Center for Chronic Kidney Disease focuses on empowering patients through education and on tailoring treatment to improve patients’ quality of life.

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The center’s progressive model for managing CKD addresses patients’ needs at every stage of the disease. Experienced nephrologists and other staff members engage patients in customized care programs that help them understand their condition and participate in their own care. Treatment is focused on slowing the progression of CKD, identifying risks for cardiovascular disease and decreasing the risk of complications from surgery.

Additionally, the center is dedicated to cutting-edge CKD research regarding CKD’s relationship with other serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and anemia.

A team-care model has proven effective in managing CKD. Physicians design treatment programs, which are supported by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nutritionists and educators. A three-pronged approach to evaluating and managing CKD involves:

  • Delaying progression to ease the burden of end-stage renal disease
  • Reducing the morbidity rate of CKD patients through intensive cardiovascular risk management
  • Optimizing the transition to renal replacement therapy, such as dialysis or kidney transplant

Patient Education

An effective treatment program requires partnership between the patient and medical staff. The center’s comprehensive CKD patient education program helps individuals understand renal disease risks and management strategies. A dedicated CKD educator leads the charge. Patients are supported with information concerning nutrition, cholesterol, blood pressure and CKD care. Ultimately, patient education results in more CKD success stories.

Research and Innovations

Research and Innovations

CKD Registry

Cleveland Clinic developed a registry with over 93,000 patients affected by CKD that will aid in monitoring this population’s progress during the life cycle of the disease. The registry includes demographic information, critical parameters, and outcome measurements.

The ability to follow patients from primary care management to nephrologic care on to CKD care and finally to renal replacement therapy, is a valuable foundation for future research and discovery. The registry helps to shed light on how the medical community recognizes and manages CKD.

CKD Carepath

The National Kidney Foundation set evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for all stages of CKD and related complications. Cleveland Clinic is developing a computer-based CKD Carepath to assist caregivers in the diagnosis and management of CKD. The CKD Carepath will inform physicians of CKD management suggestions based on the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative. Because CKD is often discovered in later stages, and sometimes a person has lost 70 percent of kidney function by that time, Cleveland Clinic is taking aggressive steps to identify the disease in its early stages. That way, CKD and related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, can be managed with optimum results.

Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study

Cleveland Clinic is participating in a long-term observational study of 3,000 individuals with mild to moderate CKD. The study, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is examining the relationship between CKD and cardiovascular disease in order to better diagnose and treat both conditions.



Robert Heyka , MD
Department Chair, Nephrology & Hypertension
Georges Nakhoul , MD
Director, Center for Chronic Kidney Disease