What is Renal Function Test (RFT) Procedure and Cost in India

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Updated on Oct 21, 2023

Know all about Renal Function Test, what it indicates, its procedure, and cost in India in this blog. Health insurance is your tool to cover the cost for all diagnostic tests for various medical conditions.

Our body is made up of various organs and each part of the body has a vital role to play. In fact, it can be safely stated that each organ of the human body is indispensable. The body can actually fail to function normally in the absence of smooth working of any one organ. Kidneys, for example, are a pair of vital human organs that help release or throw out waste from the body. One cannot imagine how the body would be able to exercise waste disposal if the kidneys stop functioning normally. To evaluate the health of these essential organs, we have some diagnostic tests such as Kidney Function Tests (KFT) or Renal Function Test (RFT).

Here we discuss all about RFT, its indication, procedure and pricing in India to help you make an informed decision for your health.

What is Renal Function Test?

Let’s begin by understanding the meaning of Renal Function Test, commonly addressed as RFT. Note that RFT is also sometimes referred to as KFT or Kidney Function Test. As is suggested by the name, these tests are performed to evaluate the health or smooth functioning of kidneys, a pair of vital organs in the human body.

Kidneys are a part of the body’s excretory system, helping it to throw out all waste and toxins that will cause harm to the system if accumulated. Since the kidneys perform a critical role in the smooth functioning of the human body, it is vital that they are in good working condition and remain healthy at all times.

An RFT is therefore used to ascertain the health of the kidneys. It is essentially not just one diagnostic test but a group of different tests that help determine the actual health condition of kidneys, which are internal organs. Since a kidney is also known as renal, the test is thereby named Renal Function Test, evaluating the current status of the kidneys – whether or not they are doing their job well.

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Why is RFT Required?

Your doctor/physician or a medical professional may ask you to get an RFT done in case you have certain lifestyle conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. This is because these health conditions impact the smooth functioning of kidneys as well, eventually resulting in their damage and causing many other health problems.

Besides these, a Renal Function Test may be prescribed by a doctor in case he/she observes any symptoms in the body that point towards a possible problem with normal kidney functioning. A few examples in which case an RFT may be recommended are:

  1. Complaints of excessively frequent urge to urinate
  2. Presence of blood in the urine or Hematuria
  3. Problem in passing urine
  4. Pain during urination or Dysuria

If you have any of the above complaints, make sure to consult a doctor immediately. They may ask you to get a Renal Function Test done to evaluate any prospective problems with kidney or renal functioning.

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What Does an RFT Include?

As stated earlier in the blog, RFT is not just one test but a group of several tests, all done with the intent to evaluate the good health of kidneys. Let’s take a look at what a Renal Function Test comprises:

  • Serum Creatinine Test: A part of the Renal Function Test procedure, the Serum Creatinine Test is conducted to determine the exact levels of creatinine in the blood. Creatinine is filtered out of the blood by the kidneys because if accumulated in the blood in higher than normal levels, creatinine can pose problems. This particular test determines whether or not creatinine is collecting in the bloodstream.

Normal range of creatinine: 1.4 mg/dL in men; 1.2 mg/dL in women (dL refers to deciliter)

  • Estimated GFR: This test is conducted to determine whether or not the kidneys are doing their basic job well, i.e., to remove waste from the body. The rate at which kidneys do this job is evaluated by taking into consideration the gender of the patient, their age, height, weight, and also the level of creatinine in the blood.

Normal acceptable range: 60 ml/min/1.73m2. A value lower than the normal limit is an indication of improper functioning of kidneys.

  • Urinalysis: As is evident in the name of the test, it is an analysis of the person’s urine, determining whether there is any amount of protein or traces of blood present in the urine. Sometimes certain infections in the body may increase the protein present in urine. Workouts also result in increased protein.
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen: Also known as BUN, this test helps analyze the waste present in the bloodstream by measuring the amount of nitrogen in the blood.

Normal acceptable limit: 7-20 mg/dL, Note that a higher than normal level of BUN may not always be indicative of kidney problems because certain medications, such as some antibiotics or high doses of aspirin may sometimes increase the level of BUN in the blood.

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Renal Function Test Procedure

Now that we know that all tests form a part of RFT, let’s understand the exact RFT test procedure in which the test is conducted.

Step 1: You will be required to submit a 24-hour urine sample collected in a container. For instance, the day on which you decide to take the test, collect first-morning urine in the container and then keep collecting more samples during the entire day in the same container. The next day (after 24 hours), collect the first-morning urine again and submit it to the test provider for results.

Step 2: Your test provider will get the sample tested at a laboratory or hospital and send you the RFT test report once the results are received.

Name of the Test Renal Function Test (RFT) / Kidney Function Test (KFT)
Test Sample Urine or Blood, or both
Composition of RFT Serum Creatinine, Estimated GFR, Urinalysis,and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
Test Preparation No preparation needed
Sample Duration 24 Hrs. Urine Sample Collected
Results Availability Within 24 Hrs
Health Insurance Coverage Provided Yes

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What tests are a part of the RFT Test List?

An RFT or Renal Function Test involves 11 parameters as mentioned in the table below:

1. Creatinine

2. Uric acid

3. BUN/creatinine ratio

4. Blood urea

5. Phosphorous

6. Chloride

7. Calcium

8. Blood urea nitrogen

9. Potassium

10. Sodium

11. Urea/creatinine ratio

How Much Time Does it Take to Receive an RFT Test Report?

Once the patient submits the sample, it takes about 8 hours before the RFT test results are declared. So, if a patient submits the sample in the morning, he/she may get the results by evening.

What Does RFT Indicate? 

RFT or Renal function tests are conducted to check how well the kidneys are working. Most of the RFT tests indicate the proper functioning of your kidneys and ensure they are clearing waste and extra fluid from your body. RFT involves several tests as mentioned in the post below. The test results of RFT are usually declared on the same day or within one or two days.

What are the Different Types of Kidney Function Tests?

To check if a kidney is functioning well, a urine test or blood test can be conducted:

Here are some urine tests that are done to check kidney functions:

Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio (ACR) ACR is a test that is also known as urine microalbumin. This test indicates a kidney disease that appears due to any complications caused by diabetes

It is recommended to conduct this test annually. In case the ACR level is high, the test might be conducted within 6 months or so

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) This test is conducted to check if blood is properly filtered by the kidneys. If the level of Urea Nitrogen is more than the normal range, it indicates kidney issues
Blood tests – Serum Creatinine This test checks the level of creatinine in the bloodstream. Kidneys perform the function of excreting creatinine from the bloodstream. Creatinine is a waste product of muscle breakdown. If a person has high creatinine levels in the blood, it indicates kidney issues
Creatinine Clearance Similar to Serum Creatinine, Creatinine Clearance is a blood test that checks the creatinine levels in the blood.

The test is performed in two steps. The first step includes collecting urine over 24 hours. In the next step, blood is collected. Now, both samples are tested to check the volume of creatinine filtered by the kidneys within 24 hours

Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) This is a test that checks the kidney’s capacity to filter blood. It shows the quantity of blood (in liters) getting filtered by the kidneys
Microalbumin test This test determines if there is a small amount of blood protein (albumin) in the urine. It detects the early signs of kidney damage
Urinalysis Lastly, Urinalysis is the most common test to analyze the functions of kidneys. This test detects the presence of blood and protein in the urine

In certain cases, the patient may be asked to get an Ultrasound, biopsy, or CT scan.

What are the Normal Ranges for the RFT Procedure?

The table below shows the normal range for the RFT Procedure:

Test  Range 
Albumin Range 3.4 – 5.4 g/dL
Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio (ACR) Under 30
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) 5 – 20 mg/dl
BUN: Creatinine Ratio 10:1 and 20:1
Chloride Test 96 – 106 mEq/L
Creatinine/ Serum Creatine 0.66 – 1.25 mg/dL
Estimated GFR 90 ml/min or above
Glucose Levels 99 mg/dL or lower
Mineral Test Calcium: 8.4 – 10.2 mg/dL Phosphorus: 2.8 to 4.5 mg/dL
Sodium and Potassium Level Test 135 – 145 mEq/L (milliequivalents per litre)
Uric Acid 3.5 – 7.2 mg/dL

Renal Function Test Cost in India

How much does an RFT cost in India? Is it expensive or affordable? It may be difficult to say with certainty the exact pricing of the Renal Function Test performed in each laboratory in each city of India. However, just to give you an approximate idea, an RFT procedure may generally cost you anywhere between Rs. 700 and Rs. 1,500 (price may vary between different labs and cities in the country).

Read More: Are Diagnostic Charges Covered by Health Insurance Policy

In a Nutshell

Renal Function Test is one of the most important kidney functioning tests performed to evaluate the health and normal functioning of the kidneys, a pair of internal vital organs in our body. In case of certain health conditions, you may be required to take RFT. Hence, it is always better to get health insurance and keep it handy in such times so as to get all test costs covered under your plan.

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Oct 13, 2022
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