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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2004 Jan;15 Suppl 1:S25-9.

Renal replacement therapy in patients with diabetes and end-stage renal disease.

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  • 1Department of Nephrology and Dialysis, A. Manzoni Hospital, Lecco, Italy.


The number of patients who have diabetes and ESRD and are being admitted to renal replacement treatment (RRT) is increasing dramatically worldwide, and in many countries, diabetes has become the single most frequent cause of ESRD. Although the prognosis of patients who have diabetes and are receiving RRT has greatly improved, survival and medical rehabilitation rates continue to be significantly worse than those of nondiabetic patients, mainly because of preexisting severely compromised cardiovascular conditions. The most common RRT modality in patients with diabetes is still hemodialysis, but it gives rise to a number of clinical problems, in particular difficulties in the management of the vascular access and high frequency of intradialytic hypotension. However, patients who have diabetes and are on peritoneal dialysis have to face a progressive increase in peritoneal permeability, loss of ultrafiltration, and peritoneal fibrosis, all phenomena being accelerated in patients with diabetes and ultimately leading to an increased technique failure. The results of observational studies and national registries, although conflicting, suggest that these two dialytic modalities are somehow comparable in terms of outcomes, whereas accumulating evidence shows that both survival and medical rehabilitation of patients with diabetes are significantly better after renal transplantation, which should be the first-choice option for patients who have diabetes and reach ESRD but unfortunately still accounts for only a limited proportion of RRT treatments in these patients.

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