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Kidney Int. 2012 Aug;82(3):352-9. doi: 10.1038/ki.2012.167. Epub 2012 May 16.

Higher mortality among remote compared to rural or urban dwelling hemodialysis patients in the United States.

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Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Living far away from specialized care centers is a potential barrier to the delivery of quality health care and has been associated with adverse outcomes. To assess mortality as a function of distance from the closest hemodialysis unit, and as a function of rural rather than urban residence, we analyzed prospectively collected data on 726,347 adults initiating chronic hemodialysis in the United States over a 13-year period. Participants were classified into categories of 0-10 (referent), 11-25, 26-45, 46-100, and remote living over 100 miles from the closest hemodialysis unit. After a median follow-up of 2.7 years (range 0 to 12.7 years), 368,569 patients died. Compared to the referent group, the adjusted hazard ratio of death was 1.01, 0.99, 0.96, and 1.21, respectively. When residence location was classified using rural-urban commuter areas, 16.5, 66.8, and 16.7% of patients lived in urban, micropolitan, and metropolitan areas, respectively. Compared with those living in metropolitan areas, the adjusted hazard ratio of mortality among patients residing in micropolitan and rural communities was 1.02 and 1.01, respectively. Thus, remote but not rural residence was associated with increased mortality among patients initiating chronic hemodialysis treatment in the United States.

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