End stage renal disease : outcomes and standards of care
A national study was devised to define, using prospective methods, the Scottish renal replacement therapy (RRT) population in terms of numbers, social circumstances, age, mode of presentation for RRT, aetiology of renal failure, comorbid illness, mode of RRT, hospitalisation, mortality and quality of life. The attainment of the recommended treatment standards (UK Renal Association) and their impact along with the factors listed above, upon patient outcomes was assessed. Care by a nephrologist prior to RRT increased the likelihood of a patient having definitive vascular access and attaining the haemoglobin standard, and decreased the time spent in hospital in the first year of RRT. The recommended percentage of patients did not attain haemoglobin, adequacy, albumin or other serum biochemistry standards throughout the first 18 months of RRT. The use of erythropoietin was fundamental to attaining recommended haemoglobin levels. Attaining the haemoglobin standard reduced the risk of death over two years and had beneficial influence upon the number of days spent in hospital. The presence of a fistula (or graft) was the most important factor positively influencing urea reduction ratio (URR). Increasing URR was shown to confer a survival benefit over 2 years in the group treated purely by haemodialysis and reduced time spent in hospital during the first year of treatment. A large demand upon in-patient services was demonstrated. Increased patient cormorbidity and age adversely affected frequency of hospitalisation and total time in hospital in the first year of treatment. Mortality is high amongst patients starting RRT. One year survival was 72.5% (84.2% excluding deaths in the first 90 days), two year survival was 58.5% (68% excluding 90 day deaths). 14% of the cohort died within the first 90 days of RRT. Comorbidity, age, serum albumin and attained haemoglobin significantly affected survival. This study expands the available evidence upon which to base future refinements to clinical practice and recommended standards of care. It provides vital data upon which to base future RRT service planning and research.