Nomenclature in nephrology: preserving ‘renal’ and ‘nephro' in the glossary of kidney health and disease

Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, Peter A. McCullough, Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, Srinivasan Beddhu, Mona Boaz, Annette Bruchfeld, Philippe Chauveau, Jing Chen, Patricia de Sequera, Nieltje Gedney, Thomas A. Golper, Malini Gupta, Tess Harris, Lori Hartwell, Vassilios Liakopoulos, Joel D. Kopple, Csaba P. Kovesdy, Iain C. Macdougall, Johannes F.E. Mann, Donald MolonyKeith C. Norris, Jeffrey Perlmutter, Connie M. Rhee, Leonardo V. Riella, Steven D. Weisbord, Carmine Zoccali, David Goldsmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A recently published nomenclature by a “Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes” (KDIGO) Consensus Conference suggested that the word “kidney” should be used in medical writings instead of “renal” or “nephro” when referring to kidney disease and kidney health. Whereas the decade-old move to use “kidney” more frequently should be supported when communicating with the public-at-large, such as the World Kidney Day, or in English speaking countries in communications with patients, care-partners, and non-medical persons, our point of view is that “renal” or “nephro" should not be removed from scientific and technical writings. Instead, the terms can coexist and be used in their relevant contexts. Cardiologists use “heart” and “cardio” as appropriate such as “heart failure” and “cardiac care units” and have not replaced “cardiovascular” with “heartvessel”, for instance. Likewise, in nephrology, we consider that “chronic kidney disease” and “continuous renal replacement therapy” should coexist. We suggest that in scientific writings and technical communications, the words “renal” and “nephro" and their derivatives are more appropriate and should be freely used without any pressure by medical journals to compel patients, care-partners, healthcare providers, researchers and other stakeholders to change their selected words and terminologies. We call to embrace the terms “kidney”, “renal” and “nephro” as they are used in different contexts and ask that scientific and medical journals not impose terminology restrictions for kidney disease and kidney health. The choice should be at the discretion of the authors, in the different contexts including in scientific journals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-648
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Kidney
  • Nephron
  • Nomenclature
  • Renal
  • Scientific language


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