Kidney Biopsy Utility: Patient and Clinician Perspectives from the Kidney Precision Medicine Project.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Kidney Med


washington; spokane; prmc


RATIONALE & OBJECTIVE: Limited data exist on patient perspectives of the implications of kidney biopsies. We explored patients' perspectives alongside those of clinicians to better understand how kidney biopsies affect patients' viewpoints and the clinical utility of biopsies.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective Cohort Study.

SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: Patient participants and clinicians in the Kidney Precision Medicine Project, a prospective cohort study of patients who undergo a research protocol biopsy, at 9 recruitment sites across the United States. Surveys were completed at enrollment before biopsy and additional timepoints after biopsy (participants: 28 days, 6 months; clinicians: 2 weeks).

ANALYTICAL APPROACH: Kappa statistics assessed prebiopsy etiology concordance between clinicians and participants. Participant perspectives after biopsy were analyzed using a thematic approach. Clinician ratings of clinical management value were compared to prebiopsy ratings with Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank tests and paired

RESULTS: A total of 167 participants undergoing biopsy (124 participants with chronic kidney disease [CKD], 43 participants with acute kidney injury [AKI]) and 58 clinicians were included in this study. CKD participants and clinicians had low etiology concordance for the 2 leading causes of CKD: diabetes (k = 0.358) and hypertension (k = 0.081). At 28 days postbiopsy, 46 (84%) participants reported that the biopsy affected their understanding of their diagnosis, and 21 (38%) participants reported that the results of the biopsy affected their medications. Participants also shared biopsy impressions in free-text responses, including impacts on lifestyle and concurrent condition management. The biopsy positively shifted clinician perceptions of the procedure's clinical management benefits, while perceptions of prognostic value decreased and diagnostic ratings remained unchanged.

LIMITATIONS: Our study did not have demographic data of clinicians and could not provide insight into postbiopsy experiences for participants who did not respond to follow-up surveys.

CONCLUSIONS: Participant perspectives of the personal implications of kidney biopsy can be integrated into shared decision-making between clinicians and patients. Enhanced biopsy reports and interactions between nephrologists and pathologists could augment the management and prognostic value of kidney biopsies.

PLAIN-LANGUAGE SUMMARY: The utility of kidney biopsy is debated among clinicians, and patients' perspectives are even less explored. To address these gaps, we synthesized perspectives from clinicians and patient participants of the Kidney Precision Medicine Project (KPMP). Both before and after biopsy, clinicians were surveyed on how the procedure affected their clinical management, diagnosis, and prognosis. After biopsy, participants shared how the procedure affected their diagnosis, medication, and lifestyle changes. Clinicians and patients shared an appreciation for the biopsy's impact on medical management but diverged in their takeaways on diagnosis and prognosis. These findings highlight the need for greater collaboration between patients and clinicians, particularly as they navigate shared decision-making when considering kidney biopsy.

Clinical Institute

Kidney & Diabetes




Pathology & Laboratory Medicine