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Am J Kidney Dis. 2007 Jul;50(1):124-32, 132.e1-2.

Impact of near-death experiences on dialysis patients: a multicenter collaborative study.

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  • 1Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

People who have come close to death may report an unusual experience known as a near-death experience (NDE). This study aims to investigate NDEs and their aftereffects in dialysis patients.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SETTING & PARTICIPANTS:

710 dialysis patients at 7 centers in Taipei, Taiwan.

PREDICTOR:

Demographic characteristics, life-threatening experience, depression, and religiosity.

OUTCOMES:

NDE and self-perceived changes in attitudes or behaviors.

MEASUREMENTS:

Greyson's NDE scale, Royal Free Questionnaire, 10-Question Survey, Ring's Weighted Core Experience Index, and Beck Depression Inventory.

RESULTS:

45 patients had 51 NDEs. Mean NDE score was 11.9 (95% confidence interval, 11.0 to 12.9). Out-of-body experience was found in 51.0% of NDEs. Purported precognitive visions, awareness of being dead, and "tunnel experience" were uncommon (<10%). Compared with the no-NDE group, subjects in the NDE group were more likely to be women and younger at life-threatening events. Both frequency of participation in religious ceremonies and pious religious activity correlated significantly with NDE score in patients with NDEs (P < 0.01 and P = 0.01, respectively). The NDE group reported being kinder to others (P = 0.04) and more motivated (P = 0.02) after their life-threatening events than the no-NDE group.

LIMITATIONS:

Determining the incidence of NDEs is dependent on self-reporting. Many NDEs occurred before the patient began long-term dialysis therapy. Causality between NDE and aftereffects cannot be inferred.

CONCLUSIONS:

NDE is not uncommon in the dialysis population and is associated with positive aftereffects. Nephrology care providers should be aware of the occurrence and aftereffects of NDEs. The high occurrence of life-threatening events, availability of medical records, and accessibility and cooperativeness of patients make the dialysis population very suitable for NDE research.

PMID:
17591532
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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