Diagnostic accuracy of urine dipstick testing for albumin-to-creatinine ratio and albuminuria: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Jhonatan R. Mejia, Jose Ernesto Fernandez-Chinguel, Gandy Dolores-Maldonado, Naysha Becerra-Chauca, Sergio Goicochea-Lugo, Percy Herrera-Añazco, Jessica Hanae Zafra-Tanaka, Alvaro Taype-Rondan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: The accuracy of urine dipsticks to detect increased albuminuria is uncertain. We aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of urine dipsticks for detecting albuminuria.Methods: A systematic review of studies that assessed the diagnostic accuracy of urine dipstick testing for detecting albuminuria has been conducted (using as reference standard the albuminuria in a 24-hour sample or the albumin-to-creatinine ratio) in Scopus, PubMed, and Google Scholar. The risk of bias of the included studies has been assessed using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2 (QUADAS-2) tool. Whenever possible, we performed meta-analyses for sensitivity and specificity. The certainty of the evidence has also been assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation methodology.Results: A total of 14 studies have been included in this review, having assessed all albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) as assessed standard. Each study used different dipstick types. The resulting pooled sensitivity and specificity for each cutoff point were as follows: for ACR >30 mg/g (13 studies): 0.82 (95% confidence interval: 0.76–0.87) and 0.88 (0.83–0.91); for ACR 30–300 mg/g (7 studies): 0.72 (0.68–0.77) and 0.82 (0.76–0.89); and for ACR >300 mg/g (7 studies): 0.84 (0.71–0.90) and 0.97 (0.95–0.99), respectively. An overall high risk of bias, an important heterogeneity in all pooled analysis, and a very low certainty of the evidence have been found.Conclusions: Pooled sensitivity and specificity of urine dipsticks have been calculated for different ACR cutoff points. However, the dipstick types differed across studies, and the certainty of the evidence was very low. Thus, further well-designed studies are needed to reach more confident estimates and to assess accuracy differences across dipstick types.Registration:

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere08253
Pages (from-to)e08253
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Albuminuria
  • Chronic
  • Renal insufficiency
  • Sensitivity and specificity


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