Steven D Soroka

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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Publications (46)163.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: It has been shown that in-center hemodialysis (HD) nurses prefer in-center HD for patients with certain characteristics; however it is not known if their opinions can be changed. To determine if an education initiative modified the perceptions of in-center HD nurses towards home dialysis. Cross-sectional survey of in-center HD nurses before and after a three hour continuing nursing education (CNE) initiative. Content of the CNE initiative included a didactic review of benefits of home dialysis, common misconceptions about patient eligibility, cost comparisons of different modalities and a home dialysis patient testimonial video. All in-center HD nurses (including those working in satellite dialysis units) affiliated with a single academic institution. Survey themes included perceived barriers to home dialysis, preferred modality (home versus in-center HD), ideal modality distribution in the local program, awareness of home dialysis and patient education about home modalities. Paired comparisons of responses before and after the CNE initiative. Of the 115 in-center HD nurses, 100 registered for the CNE initiative and 89 completed pre and post surveys (89% response rate). At baseline, in-center HD nurses perceived that impaired cognition, poor motor strength and poor visual acuity were barriers to peritoneal dialysis and home HD. In-center HD was preferred for availability of multidisciplinary care and medical personnel in case of catastrophic events. After the initiative, perceptions were more in favor of home dialysis for all patient characteristics, and most patient/system factors. Home dialysis was perceived to be underutilized both at baseline and after the initiative. Finally, in-center HD nurses were more aware of home dialysis, felt better informed about its benefits and were more comfortable teaching in-center HD patients about home modalities after the CNE session. Single-center study. CNE initiatives can modify the opinions of in-center HD nurses towards home modalities and should complement the multitude of strategies aimed at promoting home dialysis.
    12/2015; 2(1). DOI:10.1186/s40697-015-0051-z
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) who require dialysis are at increased risk for cardiovascular events and bone fractures. To assist in economic evaluations, this study aimed to estimate the disutility of these events beyond the impact of CKD and SHPT. A basic one-year health state was developed describing CKD and SHPT requiring dialysis. Further health states added acute events (cardiovascular events, fractures, and surgical procedures) or chronic post-event effects. Acute health states described a year including an event, and chronic health states described a year subsequent to an event. General population participants in Canada completed time trade-off interviews from which utilities were derived. Pairwise comparisons were made between the basic state and event, and between comparable health states. A total of 199 participants (54.8% female; mean age = 46.3 years) completed interviews. Each health state had ≥130 valuations. The mean (SD) utility of the basic health state was 0.60 (0.34). For acute events, mean utility differences versus the basic state were: myocardial infarction, -0.06; unstable angina, -0.05; peripheral vascular disease (PVD) with amputation, -0.33; PVD without amputation, -0.11; heart failure, -0.14; stroke, -0.30; hip fracture, -0.14; arm fracture, -0.04; parathyroidectomy, +0.02; kidney transplant, +0.06. Disutilities for chronic health states were: stable angina, -0.09; stroke, -0.27; PVD with amputation, -0.30; PVD without amputation, -0.12; heart failure, -0.14. Cardiovascular events and fractures were associated with lower utility scores, suggesting a perceived decrease in quality of life beyond the impact of CKD and SHPT.
    Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 06/2015; 13(1):90. DOI:10.1186/s12955-015-0266-9 · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    Meteb M AlBugami · Karthik K Tennankore · Steven D Soroka
    American Journal of Kidney Diseases 05/2015; 66(1). DOI:10.1053/j.ajkd.2014.04.040 · 5.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Frailty is associated with poor outcomes for patients on dialysis; however, previous studies have not taken into account the severity of frailty as a predictor of outcomes. The purpose of this study was to assess if there was an association between the degree of frailty and mortality among patients on incident dialysis. A cohort study of incident chronic dialysis patients was conducted between January of 2009 and June of 2013 (last follow-up in December of 2013). On the basis of overall clinical impression, the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) score was determined for patients at the start of dialysis by their primary nephrologist. This simple scale allocates a single point to different states of frailty (1, very fit; 2, well; 3, managing well; 4, vulnerable; 5, mildly frail; 6, moderately frail; 7, severely frail or terminally ill) with an emphasis on function of the assessed individual. The primary outcome was time to death. Patients were censored at the time of transplantation. The cohort consisted of 390 patients with completed CFS scores (mean age of 63±15 years old). Most were Caucasian (89%) and men (67%), and 30% of patients had ESRD caused by diabetic nephropathy. The median Charlson Comorbidity Index score was 4 (interquartile range =3-6), and the median CFS score was 4 (interquartile range =2-5). There were 96 deaths over 750 patient-years at risk. In an adjusted Cox survival analysis, the hazard ratio associated with each 1-point increase in the CFS was 1.22 (95% confidence interval, 1.04 to 1.43; P=0.02). A higher severity of frailty (as defined by the CFS) at dialysis initiation is associated with higher mortality. Copyright © 2015 by the American Society of Nephrology.
    Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 03/2015; 10(5). DOI:10.2215/CJN.07760814 · 5.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background and objectives The relative influence of facilities and regions on the timing of dialysis initiation remains unknown. The purpose of the study is to determine the variation in eGFR at dialysis initiation across dialysis facilities and geographic regions in Canada after accounting for patient-level factors (case mix). Design, setting, participants, & measurements In total, 33,263 dialysis patients with an eGFR measure at dialysis initiation between January of 2001 and December of 2010 representing 63 dialysis facilities and 14 geographic regions were included in the study. Multilevel models and intraclass correlation coefficients were used to evaluate the variation in timing of dialysis initiation by eGFR at the patient, facility, and geographic levels. Results The proportion initiating dialysis with an eGFR >= 10.5 ml/min per 1.73 m(2) was 35.3%, varying from 20.1% to 57.2% across geographic regions and from 10% to 67% across facilities. In an unadjusted, intercept-only linear model, 90.7%, 6.6%, and 2.7% of the explained variability were attributable to patient, facility, and geography, respectively. After adjustment for patient and facility factors, 96.9% of the explained variability was attributable to patient case mix, 3.1% was attributable to the facility, and 0.0% was attributable to the geographic region. These findings were consistent when the eGFR was categorized as a binary variable (>= 10.5 ml/min per 1.73 m2) or in an analysis limited to patients with >3 months of predialysis care. Conclusions Patient characteristics accounted for the majority of the explained variation regarding the eGFR at the initiation of dialysis. There was a small amount of variation at the facility level and no variation among geographic regions that was independent of patient-and facility-level factors.
    Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 09/2014; 9(10). DOI:10.2215/CJN.12321213 · 5.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dabigatran etexilate represents a possible improved alternative to warfarin for anticoagulation in hemodialysis patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). The objective was to determine dabigatran plasma concentrations and anticoagulant effects following administration of a single 110 mg oral dose of dabigatran etexilate to 10 adult patients immediately prior to starting hemodialysis. Mass spectrometry and the Hemoclot® assay were used, respectively, to determine free (unconjugated) dabigatran concentrations and thrombin time (TT) in plasma samples collected intermittently over 48 hours. The median time (tmax) to reach the maximum plasma free dabigatran concentration (Cmax) was 2 h (range 1–3 h). The mean free dabigatran Cmax was 95.5 ± 33.4 ng mL-1. The mean elimination half-lives on and off hemodialysis were, respectively 2.6 ± 1.3 h and 30.2 ± 7.8 h. Hemodialysis effectively removed dabigatran with an extraction ratio of 0.63 ± 0.07. The maximal TT ratio was 2.1 and the TT ratio demonstrated a strong linear dependence on free dabigatran concentration (r2 = 0.741). A 110 mg oral dabigatran dose prior to hemodialysis was rapidly absorbed and achieved therapeutic concentrations. Hemodialysis effectively removed dabigatran from the plasma and may be an effective means of accelerating the elimination of dabigatran in circumstances of excessive anticoagulation.
    The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 08/2014; 54(8). DOI:10.1002/jcph.335 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously reported a reduction in central venous catheter (CVC) malfunction when using once-weekly recombinant tissue-plasminogen activator (rt-PA) as a locking solution, compared with thrice-weekly heparin. To identify risk factors for CVC malfunction to inform a targeted strategy for rt-PA use. Retrospective analysis. Canadian hemodialysis (HD) units. Adults with newly placed tunnelled upper venous system CVCs randomized to a locking solution of rt-PA(1 mg/mL) mid-week and heparin (5000 u/ml) on the other HD sessions, or thrice-weekly heparin (5000 u/ml). CVC malfunction (the primary outcome) was defined as: peak blood flow less than 200 mL/min for thirty minutes during a HD session; mean blood flow less than 250 mL/min for two consecutive HD sessions; inability to initiate HD. Cox regression was used to determine the association between patient demographics, HD session CVC-related variables and the outcome of CVC malfunction. Patient age (62.4 vs 65.4 yr), proportion female sex (35.6 vs 48.4%), and proportion with first catheter ever (60.7 vs 61.3%) were similar between patients with and without CVC malfunction. After multivariate analysis, risk factors for CVC malfunction were mean blood processed < 65 L when compared with ≥ 85 L in the prior 6 HD sessions (HR 4.36; 95% CI, 1.59 to 11.95), and mean blood flow < 300 mL/min, or 300 - 324 mL/min in the prior 6 HD sessions (HR 7.65; 95% CI, 2.78 to 21.01, and HR 5.52; 95% CI, 2.00 to 15.23, respectively) when compared to ≥ 350 mL/min. This pre-specified post-hoc analysis used a definition of CVC malfunction that included blood flow, which may result in an overestimate of the effect size. Generalizability of results to HD units where trisodium citrate locking solution is used may also be limited. HD session characteristics including mean blood processed and mean blood flow were associated with CVC malfunction, while patient characteristics were not. Whether targeting these patients at greater risk of CVC malfunction with rt-PA as a locking solution improves CVC longevity remains to be determined.
    07/2014; 1(1):15. DOI:10.1186/2054-3581-1-15
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    ABSTRACT: Background Newer biomarkers, reflective of biological processes, such as inflammation and fibrosis, cardiac stretch or damage and vascular health may be useful in understanding clinical events in chronic kidney disease (CKD). We assessed whether these newer biomarkers, alone or as a panel, improve risk prediction for renal replacement therapy or death, over and above conventional clinical, demographic and laboratory variables.
    Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 05/2014; 29(5):1037-1047. DOI:10.1093/ndt/gft479 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Physicians' perceptions and opinions may influence when to initiate dialysis. Objective: To examine providers' perspectives and opinions regarding the timing of dialysis initiation.
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    ABSTRACT: Physicians' perceptions and opinions may influence when to initiate dialysis. To examine providers' perspectives and opinions regarding the timing of dialysis initiation. Online survey. Community and academic dialysis practices in Canada. A nationally-representative sample of dialysis providers. Dialysis providers opinions assessing reasons to initiate dialysis at low or high eGFR. Responses were obtained using a 9-point Likert scale. Early dialysis was defined as initiation of dialysis in an individual with an eGFR greater than or equal to 10.5 ml/min/m(2). A detailed survey was emailed to all members of the Canadian Society of Nephrology (CSN) in February 2013. The survey was designed and pre-tested to evaluate duration and ease of administration. One hundred and forty one (25% response rate) physicians participated in the survey. The majority were from urban, academic centres and practiced in regionally administered renal programs. Very few respondents had a formal policy regarding the timing of dialysis initiation or formally reviewed new dialysis starts (N = 4, 3.1%). The majority of respondents were either neutral or disagreed that late compared to early dialysis initiation improved outcomes (85-88%), had a negative impact on quality of life (89%), worsened AVF or PD use (84-90%), led to sicker patients (83%) or was cost effective (61%). Fifty-seven percent of respondents felt uremic symptoms occurred earlier in patients with advancing age or co-morbid illness. Half (51.8%) of the respondents felt there was an absolute eGFR at which they would initiate dialysis in an asymptomatic patient. The majority of respondents would initiate dialysis for classic indications for dialysis, such as volume overload (90.1%) and cachexia (83.7%) however a significant number chose other factors that may lead them to early dialysis initiation including avoiding an emergency (28.4%), patient preference (21.3%) and non-compliance (8.5%). 25% response rate. Although the majority of nephrologists in Canada who responded followed evidence-based practice regarding the timing of dialysis initiation, knowledge gaps and areas of clinical uncertainty exist. The implementation and evaluation of formal policies and knowledge translation activities may limit potentially unnecessary early dialysis initiation.
    04/2014; 1(1):3. DOI:10.1186/2054-3581-1-3
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) do not always receive care consistent with guidelines, in part due to complexities in CKD management, lack of randomized trial data to inform care, and a failure to disseminate best practice. At a 2007 conference of key Canadian stakeholders in kidney disease, attendees noted that the impact of Canadian Society of Nephrology (CSN) guidelines was attenuated given limited formal linkages between the CSN Clinical Practice Guidelines Group, kidney researchers, decision makers and knowledge users, and that further knowledge was required to guide care in patients with kidney disease. The idea for the Canadian Kidney Knowledge Translation and Generation Network (CANN-NET) developed from this meeting. CANN-NET is a pan-Canadian network established in partnership with CSN, the Kidney Foundation of Canada and other professional societies to improve the care and outcomes of patients with and at risk for kidney disease. The initial priority areas for knowledge translation include improving optimal timing of dialysis initiation, and increasing the appropriate use of home dialysis. Given the urgent need for new knowledge, CANN-NET has also brought together a national group of experienced Canadian researchers to address knowledge gaps by encouraging and supporting multicentre randomized trials in priority areas, including management of cardiovascular disease in patients with kidney failure.
    04/2014; 1(1):2. DOI:10.1186/2054-3581-1-2
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    ABSTRACT: Usually inaugural editorials are written by the Editor-in-Chief to describe the scope and vision for the journal to potential authors and readers. This editorial is written by the Editor-in-Chief, the Deputy Editors and the Associate Editors collaboratively as a clear signal that this is a unique and different journal. We will build this journal on a set of principles which are fundamental to improving the outcomes of patients with kidney disease. To that end, we aim to be supportive, to collaborate, to integrate multiple perspectives and to be open to possibilities. Résumé
    04/2014; 1(1). DOI:10.1186/2054-3581-1-1
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    ABSTRACT: Peritoneal dialysis is associated with similar survival and similar improvement in quality of life and is less costly compared with in-centre hemodialysis. We examined facility and geographic variation in the use of peritoneal dialysis in Canada.
    01/2014; 2(1):E36-44. DOI:10.9778/cmajo.20130050
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    Value in Health 11/2013; 16(7):A634. DOI:10.1016/j.jval.2013.08.1891 · 2.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The KDIGO (Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes) 2012 clinical practice guideline for anemia management in patients with chronic kidney disease provides the structural and evidence base for the Canadian Society of Nephrology commentary on this guideline's relevancy and application to the Canadian health care system. While in general agreement, we provide commentary on 11 of the 61 KDIGO guideline statements. Specifically, we agreed that a therapeutic trial of iron is appropriate in cases in which a reduction in erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) dosage or avoidance of ESA and transfusion is desired, transferrin saturations are >30%, and ferritin concentrations are >500 μg/L. However, we concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support an upper target or threshold for ferritin and transferrin saturation levels. We agree with the initiation of ESA treatment when hemoglobin (Hb) level is 90-100 g/L; however, we specifically state that an acceptable range for Hb level is 95-115 g/L, with a target of 100-110 g/L, and add caution to individualization above this range due to concerns regarding the safety of ESAs. We agree that ESAs should be used with considerable caution in patients with active malignancy, history of stroke, or history of malignancy, and we suggest initiating ESA therapy at Hb level of 90 g/L and to aim for a Hb level in the range of 90-105 g/L. The reader is encouraged to note the level of evidence and review the entire KDIGO anemia guideline to interpret the guideline statements and commentary appropriately.
    American Journal of Kidney Diseases 09/2013; 62(5). DOI:10.1053/j.ajkd.2013.08.001 · 5.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) increases with age, and the risk of significant anaemia increases as renal function declines. The objectives of this study were to assess the effect of darbepoetin alfa administration on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) through treatment for anaemia in older patients with CKD. In this multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, older patients (aged ≥70 years) with CKD (Stages 3-5, predialysis) and haemoglobin (Hb) < 11.0 g/dL were randomised to darbepoetin alfa (n = 28) or placebo (n = 23). HRQOL was measured using a number of instruments including Short Form-36 (SF-36) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Anaemia (FACT-An). The primary endpoint, mean SF-36 Vitality Score at Week 24, was comparable between the darbepoetin alfa (51.4 [95 % CI 48.0, 54.9]) and placebo (46.7 [40.9, 52.5]) groups. Darbepoetin alfa-treated patients experienced statistically significant improvements in some SF-36 and FACT-An Subscale Scores. Mean Hb was higher with darbepoetin alfa (12.5 [12.1, 12.9] g/dL) than with placebo (10.5 [10.1, 11.0] g/dL). The safety profiles were comparable between the treatment groups. The study was limited by only 20 % of the planned patient recruitment being achieved. Darbepoetin alfa increased Hb and, within study limitations, suggested that improvements in some HRQOL domains in older CKD patients with anaemia may be achieved with more physiological haemoglobin.
    International Urology and Nephrology 08/2013; 46(2). DOI:10.1007/s11255-013-0512-1 · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Calcific uremic arteriolopathy (CUA) is a rare but serious disorder affecting 4% of dialysis patients. Intravenous sodium thiosulfate (IV STS) has been shown as an effective treatment. In Canada, the average cost of IV STS is about CAD 12,000 per month, while the cost of compounded oral STS is CAD 45 per month. Methods: Prospective cohort where all patients diagnosed with CUA during the year 2011 were included. They were treated initially with IV STS. Afterwards, each patient had a baseline bone scan and was started on oral STS for a total of 6 months followed by a repeat bone scan. A single radiologist, blinded to the dates of both scans for a given patient, read all scans. Results: Four patients were studied. The intravenous dose used was 25 g three times a week for an average duration of 131 days. After the maintenance therapy, 2 patients developed further regression of the lesions, 1 had stable lesions, and 1 got worse; however, nonadherence to the drug was confirmed. The oral medication was well tolerated with no reported side effects. Conclusion: Oral STS, after IV STS, seems to stabilize, or even improve CUA lesions, and therefore could be useful as maintenance therapy, especially since its cost is much more reasonable than IV STS and due to the ongoing shortage of the IV formulation.
    American Journal of Nephrology 01/2013; 37(2):104-109. DOI:10.1159/000346410 · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: There is a concern that some, especially older people, are not referred and could benefit from transplantation. METHODS: We retrospectively examined consecutive incident end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients at our center from January 2006 to December 2009. At ESRD start, patients were classified into those with or without contraindications using Canadian eligibility criteria. Based on referral for transplantation, patients were grouped as CANDIDATE (no contraindication and referred), NEITHER (no contraindication and not referred) and CONTRAINDICATION. The Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) was used to assess comorbidity burden. RESULTS: Of the 437 patients, 133 (30.4%) were CANDIDATE (mean age 50 and CCI 3.0), 59 (13.5%) were NEITHER (age 76 and CCI 4.4), and 245 (56.1%) were CONTRAINDICATION (age 65 and CCI 5.5). Age was the best discriminator between NEITHER and CANDIDATES (c-statistic 0.96, P <0.0001) with CCI being less discriminative (0.692, P <0.001). CANDIDATES had excellent survival whereas those patients designated NEITHER and CONTRAINDICATION had high mortality rates. NEITHER patients died or developed a contraindication at very high rates. By 1.5 years 50% of the NEITHER patients were no longer eligible for a transplant. CONCLUSIONS: There exists a relatively small population of incident patients not referred who have no contraindications. These are older patients with significant comorbidity who have a small window of opportunity for kidney transplantation.
    12/2012; 1(1):22. DOI:10.1186/2047-1440-1-22
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The use of central venous catheters (CVC) in hemodialysis has been growing, thereby more infections and thromboses are encountered on daily basis. Certain enhancements have been applied to the CVCs to minimize these complications, however, these come at a cost. Using Enhanced CVCs would be cost effective if they require less fibrinolysis and have longer patency. Methods: A randomized controlled trial comparing the Enhanced, heparin and silver coated (Sapphire Palindrome) to Standard CVCs (Hemostar), with the hypothesis that using Enhanced CVCs will result in decreased tPA use and prolonged catheter patency. Those with new CVC incretion or replacement, using 19 or 23 cm placed over the right or left IJ were included. The primary outcome was the difference in tPA use. The secondary outcomes were the time to the first tPA use, and the times to CVC replacement for poor flow or bacteremia. Results: 61 Enhanced and 58 Standard CVCs in 92 patients were included in the final analysis. Patients characteristics were the same. The mean tPA doses were 15.6 mg and 17.1 mg for the Enhanced and Standard groups, respectively (P=0.59). The cumulative time to first tPA use was 162 (95% CI 116 to 209) and 156 (95% CI 113 to 200) days for both groups respectively (P=0.54).12 Enhanced and 8 Standard CVCs were changed due to poor flow, respectively (P=0.47), also 7 and 11 were changed due bacteremia, respectively (P=0.31). There were no differences on cumulative time to CVC removal due to poor flow or bacteremia. More cuff migrations were seen in the Enhanced group. Conclusions: Using heparin and silver coated CVCs does not seem to be cost effective, as there was no difference in catheter survival. Given the small numbers of bacteremia, significant difference might have been missed.
    ASN Kidney Week, San Diego, CA, USA; 11/2012
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    Karthik K Tennankore · Steven D Soroka · Bryce A Kiberd
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    ABSTRACT: Central venous catheters (CVCs) are associated with early mortality in dialysis patients. However, some patients progress to end stage renal disease after an acute illness, prior to reaching an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) at which one would expect to establish alternative access (fistula/peritoneal dialysis catheter). The purpose of this study was to determine if exclusion of this "acute start" patient group alters the association between CVCs and mortality. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 406 incident dialysis patients from 1 Jan 2006 to 31 Dec 2009. Patients were classified as acute starts if 1) the eGFR was >25 ml/min/1.73 m2, ≤3 months prior to dialysis initiation and declined after an acute event (n = 45), or 2) in those without prior eGFR measurements, there was no supporting evidence of chronic kidney disease on history or imaging (n = 12). Remaining patients were classified as chronic start (n = 349). 98 % and 52 % of acute and chronic starts initiated dialysis with a CVC. There were 148 deaths. The adjusted mortality hazard ratio (HR) for acute vs. chronic start patients was 1.84, (95 % CI [1.19-2.85]). The adjusted mortality HR for patients dialyzing with a CVC compared to alternative access was 1.19 (95 % CI [0.80-1.77]). After excluding acute start patients, the adjusted HR fell to 1.03 (95 % CI [0.67-1.57]). A significant proportion of early dialysis mortality occurs after an acute start. Exclusion of this population attenuates the mortality risk associated with CVCs.
    BMC Nephrology 07/2012; 13:72. DOI:10.1186/1471-2369-13-72 · 1.52 Impact Factor