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      Very Old Patients on Hemodialysis: How They Start and Can We Predict Survival?

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          Background: We describe circumstances of dialysis initiation, dialysis prescription and factors affecting survival in elderly patients. Methods: We included all incident patients ≥80 years old from a National Registry for which clinical and laboratory data at dialysis initiation could retrospectively be obtained. Results: Of 170 patients included, 24% had diabetes, 30% ischemic heart disease, 13% peripheral arterial disease, 15% active malignancy and 60% prior nephrology care. Mean creatinine was 672 ± 225 µmol/l, eGFR 7.3 ± 3.7 ml/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup>, 81% started dialysis in hospital and 78% with a catheter. 32% had <2 sessions/week and 29% had single-needle dialysis. One-year survival was 74% (median 26 months). In multivariate analysis only age (HR 1.10) and prior nephrology care (HR 0.48) were significant predictors of survival. Conclusions: The majority of elderly patients started dialysis with a catheter and in hospital setting. We estimate observed survival as good. Only age and prior nephrology care were independent predictors of survival. Video Journal Club ‘Cappuccino with Claudio Ronco' at

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          Most cited references 22

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          Functional status of elderly adults before and after initiation of dialysis.

          It is unclear whether functional status before dialysis is maintained after the initiation of this therapy in elderly patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Using a national registry of patients undergoing dialysis, which was linked to a national registry of nursing home residents, we identified all 3702 nursing home residents in the United States who were starting treatment with dialysis between June 1998 and October 2000 and for whom at least one measurement of functional status was available before the initiation of dialysis. Functional status was measured by assessing the degree of dependence in seven activities of daily living (on the Minimum Data Set-Activities of Daily Living [MDS-ADL] scale of 0 to 28 points, with higher scores indicating greater functional difficulty). The median MDS-ADL score increased from 12 during the 3 months before the initiation of dialysis to 16 during the 3 months after the initiation of dialysis. Three months after the initiation of dialysis, functional status had been maintained in 39% of nursing home residents, but by 12 months after the initiation of dialysis, 58% had died and predialysis functional status had been maintained in only 13%. In a random-effects model, the initiation of dialysis was associated with a sharp decline in functional status, indicated by an increase of 2.8 points in the MDS-ADL score (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.5 to 3.0); this decline was independent of age, sex, race, and functional-status trajectory before the initiation of dialysis. The decline in functional status associated with the initiation of dialysis remained substantial (1.7 points; 95% CI, 1.4 to 2.1), even after adjustment for the presence or absence of an accelerated functional decline during the 3-month period before the initiation of dialysis. Among nursing home residents with ESRD, the initiation of dialysis is associated with a substantial and sustained decline in functional status. 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            A randomized, controlled trial of early versus late initiation of dialysis.

            In clinical practice, there is considerable variation in the timing of the initiation of maintenance dialysis for patients with stage V chronic kidney disease, with a worldwide trend toward early initiation. In this study, conducted at 32 centers in Australia and New Zealand, we examined whether the timing of the initiation of maintenance dialysis influenced survival among patients with chronic kidney disease. We randomly assigned patients 18 years of age or older with progressive chronic kidney disease and an estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) between 10.0 and 15.0 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area (calculated with the use of the Cockcroft-Gault equation) to planned initiation of dialysis when the estimated GFR was 10.0 to 14.0 ml per minute (early start) or when the estimated GFR was 5.0 to 7.0 ml per minute (late start). The primary outcome was death from any cause. Between July 2000 and November 2008, a total of 828 adults (mean age, 60.4 years; 542 men and 286 women; 355 with diabetes) underwent randomization, with a median time to the initiation of dialysis of 1.80 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.60 to 2.23) in the early-start group and 7.40 months (95% CI, 6.23 to 8.27) in the late-start group. A total of 75.9% of the patients in the late-start group initiated dialysis when the estimated GFR was above the target of 7.0 ml per minute, owing to the development of symptoms. During a median follow-up period of 3.59 years, 152 of 404 patients in the early-start group (37.6%) and 155 of 424 in the late-start group (36.6%) died (hazard ratio with early initiation, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.83 to 1.30; P=0.75). There was no significant difference between the groups in the frequency of adverse events (cardiovascular events, infections, or complications of dialysis). In this study, planned early initiation of dialysis in patients with stage V chronic kidney disease was not associated with an improvement in survival or clinical outcomes. (Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and others; Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number, 12609000266268.)
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              Dialysis or not? A comparative survival study of patients over 75 years with chronic kidney disease stage 5.

              The number of elderly patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 5 is steadily increasing. Evidence is needed to inform decision-making for or against dialysis, especially in those patients with multiple comorbid conditions for whom dialysis may not increase survival. We therefore compared survival of elderly patients with CKD stage 5, managed either with dialysis or conservatively (without dialysis), after the management decision had been made, and explored which of several key variables were independently associated with survival. A retrospective analysis of the survival of all over 75 years with CKD stage 5 attending dedicated multidisciplinary pre-dialysis care clinics (n=129) was performed. Demographic and comorbidity data were collected on all patients. Survival was defined as the time from estimated GFR<15 ml/min to either death or study endpoint. One- and two-year survival rates were 84% and 76% in the dialysis group (n=52) and 68% and 47% in the conservative group (n=77), respectively, with significantly different cumulative survival (log rank 13.6, P<0.001). However, this survival advantage was lost in those patients with high comorbidity scores, especially when the comorbidity included ischaemic heart disease. In CKD stage 5 patients over 75 years, who receive specialist nephrological care early, and who follow a planned management pathway, the survival advantage of dialysis is substantially reduced by comorbidity and ischaemic heart disease in particular. Comorbidity should be a major consideration when advising elderly patients for or against dialysis.

                Author and article information

                Blood Purif
                Blood Purification
                S. Karger AG
                November 2014
                14 October 2014
                : 38
                : 1
                : 74-79
                aDepartment of Nephrology, University Medical Center Ljubljana, Ljubljana, and bDepartment of Dialysis, Clinic for Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia
                Author notes
                *Assist. Prof. Jakob Gubensek, MD, PhD, Department of Nephrology, University Medical Center Ljubljana, Zaloska cesta 7, SI-1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia), E-Mail
                367681 Blood Purif 2014;38:74-79
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 5, Pages: 6
                Original Paper


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