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CKD in Australia
(Health Professionals) Indigenous CKD stats & reports>

KHA Resources & Fact Sheets>
* Fast Facts on CKD in Australia> print version

Did you know that a person can lose up to 90% of their kidney function before experiencing any symptoms?
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a significant and growing public health problem, responsible for substantial burden of illness and premature mortality.


  • Approximately 1.7 million Australians (1 in 10) aged 18 years and over have indicators of CKD such as reduced kidney function and/or the presence of albumin in the urine1.
  • Less than 10% of the people with CKD are aware they have this condition2.
  • This means over 1.5 million Australians are unaware they have indicators of CKD. 


  • 1 in 3 Australians is at an increased risk of developing CKD3.

  • Adult Australians are at an increased risk of CKD if they:
    • have diabetes
    • have high blood pressure
    • have established heart problems (heart failure or heart attack) and/or have had a stroke
    • have a family history of kidney disease
    • are obese (Body Mass Index BMI - more than or equal to 30)
    • are a smoker
    • are 60 years or older
    • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin


Data from the Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant (ANZDATA) Registry shows that the three most common causes of kidney disease requiring renal replacement therapy (dialysis or transplant) in Australia in 2013 were diabetes (35%), other (26%), hypertension (14%) glomuleronephritis (inflammation of the kidney) is unchanged at 19%4.


In Australia, CKD is:

  • Common
    • 10% of people attending general practice have CKD, but most do not know it5.
    • 42% of people over 75 years of age have an indicator of CKD1.
  • Harmful
    • People with CKD have a 2 to 3-fold greater risk of cardiac death than people without CKD6.
    • For people with CKD, the risk of dying from cardiovascular events is 20 times greater than the risk of requiring dialysis or transplantation7.
  • Treatable
    • If CKD is detected early and managed appropriately, then the otherwise inevitable deterioration in kidney function can be reduced by as much as 50% and may even be reversible8.
  • In 2012-13 almost 1 in 5 (18%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged >18 years had indicators of CKD.9
  • After adjusting for age differences, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to have indicators of CKD. They were 3 times as likely to have indicators of Stage 1 CKD, and more than 4 times as likely as non-Indigenous people to have indicators of Stage 4-5.9
  • The incidence of end stage kidney disease for Indigenous peoples is especially high in remote and very remote areas of Australia, with rates almost 18 times and 20 times those of comparable non-Indigenous peoples10.
  • Around 9 in 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with signs of CKD were not aware they had it.9
  • Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represent less than 2.5% of the national population, they account for approximately 9% of people commencing kidney replacement therapy each year.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are almost 4 times as likely to die with CKD as a cause of death than non-Indigenous Australians11.

Most recent data from Australia & New Zealand Dialysis & Transplant (ANZDATA) Registry4, 12 shows:

  • 2,544 people started kidney replacement therapy (dialysis or transplant) in 2013.
  • 21,470 people were receiving renal replacement therapy - dialysis or kidney transplantation - at the end of 2013. This represents a 4% increase from 2012.
  • 21% of people who begin kidney replacement therapy are referred ‘late’ to a nephrologist - i.e. less than 3 months before beginning kidney replacement therapy.
  • In Australia, late referral is more common among people of Pacific Islands (29%), Indigenous Australian (29%) or Maori (26%) origin, compared with the Caucasian population (22%).


  • 11,774 people were receiving dialysis treatment at the end of 20134.
  • This presents an increase of 3% from 2012.
  • Of all people on dialysis, 29% dialyse at home.
  • Dialysis treatments at the end of 2013:
    -   7% use Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis
    -   12% use Automated Peritoneal Dialysis
    -   9% use Home Haemodialysis
    -   71% use satellite or hospital dialysis
  • In 2013, home dialysis as a percentage of all dialysis was 31% in Queensland 36% in New South Wales, 21% in the Australian Capital Territory, 25% in Victoria, 26% in Tasmania, 21% in South Australia, 13% in the Northern Territory, and 23% in Western Australia.


  • 905 kidney transplant operations were performed in Australia in 201413.
  • A total of 9,696 Australians were alive as a result of a functioning kidney transplant at the end of 2013 - this represents a 4% increase from 2012.
  • As at April 2015 - 1,142 people were waiting for a kidney transplant in Australia13.
  • 73% of people on the waiting list are aged less than 60 years, and 79% are waiting for their first transplant.
  • The average waiting time for a transplant is about 31/2 years, but waits of up to 7 years are not uncommon14.
  • The survival rate following a kidney transplant is high - 98% of recipients are alive at 1 year and 89% are alive at 5 years.
  • In 2014 there were 378 deceased organ donors in Australia, who saved or improved the lives of 1,117 people14.
  • The number of deceased organs in 2014 was 3% lower than that achieved in 201315.
  • There were 268 live kidney donations in 201413, a 7% increase on 201316.

Graphic of existing (and projections for 2009 to 2020) for End Stage Kidney Disease in Australia


  • The best available evidence17 we have on cost per person per year on dialysis is:
  • The costs of treating end-stage kidney disease from 2009 to 2020 is estimated to be around $12 billion to the Australian Government.
  • Increasing the use of Home Dialysis over the next 10 years is estimated to lead to net savings of between $378 and $430 million for the health system.
  • Kidney disease contributes to approximately 15% of all hospitalisations in Australia.


The most recent data available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics18 show:

  • Around 56 people die every day with kidney related disease.
  • Kidney-related disease kills more people each year than breast cancer, prostate cancer or even road traffic accidents.
  • In 2013, diseases of the kidney and urinary system were the 11th leading cause of death in Australia with 2,987 deaths.
  • Diseases of the kidney and urinary tract contributed to approximately 14% of all Australian deaths.
  • Globally, the number of deaths where CKD is the underlying cause of death increased by 82% from 1990 to 2010. This is likely to be an underestimate as the cause of death data does not reliably capture death due to earlier stages of CKD19.

For individuals with kidney failure, palliative care can provide support with symptom management, advance care planning, psychological support and education for both patients and their families

In Australia20:

  • Kidney failure (as a principal or additional diagnosis) is the 3rd most common cause of palliative care-related hospital separations (behind secondary cancer and lung cancer).
  • Kidney failure as the principal diagnosis accounts for 36% of all palliative care patient deaths.

Kidney Health Australia proudly supports and collaborates with the Australian and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry (ANZDATA) which provides detailed annual reports and six-monthly interim summaries (from 1997 to present), detailing statistics on the incidence, prevalence and outcome of dialysis and transplant treatment for patient with end stage kidney failure.

Connect with us                                              


Questions - contact our Kidney Health Information Service: freecall 1800 454 363 or khis@kidney.org.au

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        (1)   Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Chronic Diseases, 2011-12. ABS, Canberra; 2013.

        (2)   Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian health survey: First results 2011-12. 2012. Report No.: 4364.0.55.001.

        (3)   Chadban SJ, Briganti EM, Kerr PG et al. Prevalence of kidney damage in Australian adults: The AusDiab kidney study. J Am Soc Nephrol 2003 July;14(7 Suppl 2):S131-S138.

        (4)    ANZDATA Registry. The 37th Annual ANZDATA Report. Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry, Adelaide, Australia. Available at: anzdata.org.au 2015.

        (5)   Australian Institute of Health. BEACH-SAND Report.  Bettering the evaluation and care of health. Chronic renal failure/kidney disease. 2007.

        (6)   Foley RN, Parfrey PS, Sarnak MJ. Clinical epidemiology of cardiovascular disease in chronic renal disease. Am J Kidney Dis 1998;32:S112-S119.

        (7)   Keith DS, Nichols GA, Gullion CM, Brown JB, Smith DH. Longitudinal follow-up and outcomes among a population with chronic kidney disease in a large managed care organization. Arch Intern Med 2004 March 22;164(6):659-63.

        (8)   Johnson DW. Evidence-based guide to slowing the progression of early renal insufficiency. Intern Med J 2004 January;34(1-2):50-7.

        (9)   Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Biomedical Results, 2012-13.  2014. Report No.: 4727.0.55.003, Canberra.

      (10)    Stumpers S, Thomson N. Review of kidney disease among Indigenous people. Australian Indigenous Health Bulletin 2013;13(2).

      (11)    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Chronic Kidney Disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2011. Canberra Australia: AIHW; 2011. Report No.: Cat. No. PHE 151.

      (12)    ANZDATA. The 36th Annual ANZDATA Report. Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry, South Australia, Adelaide; 2014

      (13)    Australia & New Zealand Organ Donation Registry. Organs donated and transplanted in Australia and New Zealand by transplanting region anzdata.org.au/anzod/v1/TransplantsByYear.html 2015 February 10.

      (14)    National Organ Matching System. Australian waiting list. Australian and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry 2013. anzdata.org.au/anzod/v1/waitinglist2013.html

      (15)    Wright J, Narayan S. Analysis of kidney allocation during 2013. 2014.

      (16)    Australian Government Organ and Tissue Authority. Performance Report 2014. 2015.

      (17)    Cass A, Chadban S, Gallagher M et al. The economic impact of end-stage kidney disease in Australia: Projections to 2020. Kidney Health Australia, Melbourne, Australia; 2010.

      (18)    Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of death, 2012.  2014.

       (19)   Lozano R, Naghavi M, Foreman K et al. Global and regional mortality from 235 causes of death for 20 age groups in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet 2012;380:2095-128.

        (20)  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Palliative care  services in Australia in 2013. HWI 123, Canberra: AIHW; 2013.

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  The material contained on this site does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for information purposes only. Published by Kidney Health Australia. Privacy Policy. For information about website content please contact the National Communications Manager.

© 2008 Kidney Health Australia

Last updated: Oct 2015.