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J Nephrol. 2003 Mar-Apr;16(2):252-9.

Assessment of health status in chronic hemodialysis patients.

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  • 1Division of Nephrology, Quality Care Unit, Geneva University Hospitals, CH-1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland.



We compared three ways of assessing health status in chronic hemodialysis patients: generic questionnaire compared with population norms, disease-specific questionnaire, and open questions.


Hemodialysis patients (n=83) treated in Geneva canton, Switzerland, answered the Kidney Disease Quality of Life (KDQOL-SF) questionnaire, which combines 12 disease-specific scales with the generic Short-Form 36 (SF36) health survey, and open questions about the most disturbing and most positive aspects of having end-stage renal disease. SF36 scores were compared with those of the general population, and generic health scales were correlated with dialysis-specific scales.


Hemodialysis patients had significantly lower scores than general population controls on 7 of 8 SF36 scales, especially physical functioning (-1.2 standard deviation (SD) units, p<0.001) and general health (-1.2 SD, p<0.001), but their mental health was similar (-0.2 SD, p=0.13). All 12 KDQOL dialysis-specific scores correlated significantly with the SF36 mental summary score, but only 6 correlated significantly with the SF36 physical summary score. Open comments suggested that dialysis itself is the chief problem confronting dialysis patients, but also that the predicament of end-stage renal disease may have a positive impact on the lives of some patients.


While physical problems are the biggest difference between dialysis patients and controls, disease-specific scales and open comments highlighted the importance of psychosocial and treatment-related problems among hemodialysis patients. Generic and disease-specific questionnaires, and open comments provide different information about the health status of dialysis patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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