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J Nephrol. 2005 May-Jun;18(3):267-75.

Dialysis choice in the context of an early referral policy: there is room for self care.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.



Predialysis care is vital for the patient and is crucial for dialysis choice: empowered, early referred patients tend to prefer out-of-hospital and self-care treatment; despite these claims, early referral remains too often a program more than a reality. Aim of the study was to evaluate the pattern and reasons for RRT choice in patients treated in a long-standing outpatient network, presently following 850 chronic patients (about 80% diabetics), working with an early referral policy and offering a wide set of dialysis options (home hemo and PD; self care and limited care hemodialysis; hospital hemodialysis).


Prospective historical study. All patients who started RRT in January 2001-December 2003 were considered. Correlations between demographical (sex, age, educational level) or clinical variables (pre-RRT follow-up, comorbidity, SGA and Karnofsky) and treatment choice have been tested by univariate (chi-square, Kruskal-Wallis) and multivariate models (logistic regression), both considering all choices and dichotomising choice into "hospital" versus "out of hospital dialysis".


Hospital dialysis was chosen by 32.6% of patients; out of hospital in 67.4% (PD 26.5%, limited-care 18.4%, home hemodialysis 4.1%, self-care 18.4%). Hospital dialysis and PD were chosen by elderly patients (median age: 67.5 and 70 years respectively) with multiple comorbidities (75% and 92.3%); no difference for age, comorbidity, Karnofsky, SGA and educational level. 6/13 PD patients needed the help of a partner. Self-care/home hemodialysis patients were younger (median age 52), had higher educational level (p = 0.014) and lower prevalence of comorbidity (63.6% vs 94.7% in the other dialysis patients, p = 0.006). In the context of a long follow-up period (3.9 years) a statistically significant difference was found comparing hospital dialysis (3.3 years) vs out of hospital dialysis (4.9 years) (p = 0.035). In a logistic regression model, only pre-RRT follow-up was correlated with dialysis "hospital vs "out of hospital" choice (p = 0.014).


Early nephrological follow-up may enhance self and home-based dialysis care.

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