(Brussels, Belgium) – – – – Recognizing the need for more precise, consistent, and patient-centered nomenclature describing kidney function and disease, Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) organized a consensus conference in June 2019. The meeting was attended by diverse stakeholders, including clinicians caring for persons with kidney disease, patients, researchers, and editors of all major kidney journals as well as several editors of other journals of clinical medicine. KDIGO is delighted to announce the publication of the Nomenclature for Kidney Function and Disease Conference Report and Glossary.

The purpose of the conference was to standardize and refine kidney-related nomenclature through a precise and patient-centered glossary that aligns communication in clinical practice, research, and public health. Elements of the glossary will be included in online updates to the recently published AMA Manual of Style.


Highlights from the report and glossary include:

  • Using “kidney” rather than “renal” or “nephro-” when referring to kidney disease and kidney function.
  • Using “kidney failure” with appropriate descriptions of presence or absence of symptoms, signs, and treatment.
  • Abandoning the use of non-patient-centered terms, such as “end-stage” or “renal.”
  • Using specific measures such as albuminuria or decreased GFR rather than terms like “abnormal” or “reduced” kidney function;
  • Continuing use of published KDIGO definitions and classification of acute kidney diseases and disorders and acute kidney injury.


The entire report and its recommendations can be found in Kidney International and on the KDIGO website.

To ensure patient representation in critical nomenclature discussions, KDIGO collaborated with Standardised Outcomes in Nephrology (SONG) to conduct qualitative research into patient attitudes and experiences with language commonly used to describe their kidney diseases and care. The results were presented at the conference by SONG co-founder, Allison Tong, and the full results will be published in the upcoming issue of Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The conference was organized by KDIGO and led by Andrew Levey of Tufts Medical Center in Boston; Kai-Uwe Eckardt of the Charité in Berlin; Nijsje Dorman, Managing Editor of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases; and Stacy Christiansen, Managing Editor of JAMA and Chair of the AMA Manual of Style Committee.

KDIGO Co-Chair Wolfgang Winkelmayer, said, “KDIGO is very pleased with the results of this conference. Agreement by so many medical and scientific journals to publish the Executive Summary is a monumental achievement. Including its glossary in future updates to the AMA Style will keep our recommendations current for years to come.”

Publication of the main paper from the conference will be released in the June issue of Kidney International. An Executive Summary and glossary will also be published in KI Reports and over 20 journals spanning nephrology and other specialties such as diabetes, pediatrics, transplantation, and general internal medicine from around the world.

“We are proud of the work KDIGO does every day; but, this conference really shows what can be accomplished when the community comes together to improve outcomes for patients,” said KDIGO Co-Chair, Michel Jadoul. “This new nomenclature will make our communication more precise and consistent. That will improve the care and the well-being of our patients.”


KDIGO is a Belgian foundation committed to developing and implementing nephrology guidelines that improve patient outcomes on a global basis.

For further information please contact KDIGO at [email protected].




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