Majority of Dialysis Patients Unemployed Interview with:

Hemodialysis machine Wikipedia image

Hemodialysis machine
Wikipedia image

Dr. Kevin F. Erickson MD, MS
Section of Nephrology and Selzman Institute for Kidney Health
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX What is the background for this study?

Response: An amendment to the Social Security Act passed in 1972 made it so nearly every person who develops end-stage renal disease – or ESRD – in the U.S. becomes eligible for Medicare, regardless of their age. At the time the law was passed, the bill’s supporters argued that access to life-sustaining dialysis therapy would enable patients to continue being productive members of society through work and activities at home. While the law has succeeded in providing access to dialysis therapy for many patients who would have otherwise died from kidney failure, it has been less successful at helping patients to continue working. The rate of employment among patients with ESRD who are receiving dialysis in the U.S. is low and has continued to decrease over time, despite both financial benefits from employment and evidence suggesting that patients who are employed experience improved quality of life and sense of wellbeing.

We used a national ESRD registry to examine trends in employment between 1996 and 2013 among patients starting dialysis in the U.S. and in the six months before ESRD. Our goal was to determine whether difficulties that patients face when trying to work begin even before they develop ESRD.

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Height Linked To Increased Mortality In Hemodialysis Patients Interview with:
Bryan B. Shapiro
Harold Simmons Center for Kidney Disease Research and Epidemiology and
Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute
Harbor–UCLA Medical Center Torrance, California

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The inverse relationship between body mass index (BMI) and mortality rates is well-documented in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients. Virtually everyone has assumed that this relationship reflects the effect of body weight, and especially fat mass, on mortality in these patients. However, height is also a component of the BMI equation (BMI = body weight (kg)/height (m²)) and may be independently associated  with mortality in MHD patients. The results of this study, which examined 117, 644 MHD patients and was controlled for many demographic and laboratory variables, indicate that height, adjusted for body weight, is directly associated with mortality in a manner that is opposite to the weight-mortality relationship. Moreover, we found that the contribution of height to the inverse BMI-mortality relationship in dialysis is essentially as great as the contribution of weight. Continue reading

Dialysis Patients Generally Unprepared For Natural Disasters Interview with:
Naoka Murakami MD PhD
Mount Sinai Beth Israel Department of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background of the study? What are the main findings? 

Dr. Murakami: Dialysis patients live in a complex sociomedical situation and are highly dependent on technologies to sustain their lives; such as transportation, electricity and water for the dialysis apparatus. Interruption of this infrastructure by a natural disaster can result in devastating outcomes.

During triage of patients arriving at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in the immediate aftermath of hurricane Sandy, we observed that many dialysis patients did not know about their medications, their comorbid conditions nor their dialysis prescriptions. Therefore we conducted a cross-sectional follow-up study of 357 hemodialysis patients in five dialysis units in lower Manhattan, New York. Using checklists prepared by the National Kidney Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security, we found that 26.3% subjects missed dialysis sessions and 66.1% received dialysis at non-regular dialysis unit(s). We observed that the distribution of a “Dialysis emergency packet” significantly improved retention of medical records at home. Analysis showed that dialysis-specific preparedness, racial ethnicity (non-African American, Hispanic or Caucasian), reception of dialysis in affiliated units, and older age, were associated with a significant reduction in missed dialyses.

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Serum IL-31 Linked to Itching in Hemodialysis Patients Interview wth:
Mei-Ju Ko, MD, PhD
Department of Dermatology, Taipei City Hospital
Department of Dermatology, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Ko: In this study, not only did we find that serum levels of interleukin (IL)-31 were significantly higher in hemodialysis patients with pruritus symptoms, but we also demonstrated a positive exposure-response relationship between IL-31 levels and visual analog scale (VAS) scores of pruritus intensity. We also noted an inverse correlation between the severity of pruritus and the dialysis dose assessed by Kt/V.
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End Stage Kidney Disease: Does Peritoneal Dialysis Offer A Survival Advantage? Interview with:
Victoria A. Kumar, M.D.
Internal Medicine/Nephrology
Division of Nephrology
Department of Internal Medicine
Southern California Permanente Medical Group
Los Angeles, California, USA

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Kumar: There was over a 2 fold increase in patient survival in incident peritoneal dialysis patients in the first year on dialysis compared to propensity matched incident hemodialysis patients.  We excluded any patients who utilized a central dialysis catheter at any point during the first 90 days on hemodialysis in an effort to reduce the mortality bias associated with hemodialysis patients who start with a catheter.  All hemodialysis patients had pre-dialysis care by a nephrologist prior to starting dialysis.

The 2+ fold increase in survival among peritoneal dialysis patients resulted in a 2-3 year cumulative survival advantage for peritoneal dialysis patients, using both intent to treat and as-treated analyses.
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