Early referral to the nephrologist and timely initiation of renal replacement therapy: A paradigm shift in the management of patients with chronic renal failure

Division of Nephrology, New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.
American Journal of Kidney Diseases (Impact Factor: 5.9). 03/1998; 31(3):398-417. DOI: 10.1053/ajkd.1998.v31.pm9506677
Source: PubMed


The high mortality rate among dialysis patients has spawned investigation into potentially correctable factors that are associated with an increased risk of death. Several studies have demonstrated a strong association between an increased risk of death in dialysis patients and suboptimal delivered dose of dialysis, malnutrition, and non-renal comorbidity. In addition, the use of unsubstituted cellulose dialyzers and reprocessed dialyzers also has been associated with an increased risk of death. Increased attention to these factors has resulted in a significant improvement in patient survival. Nonetheless, the mortality of dialysis patients remains unacceptably high and indicates that other factors may be operative. One of the factors that has thus far received scant attention, but could significantly affect morbidity and mortality in dialysis patients, is the timing and quality of care before initiation of dialysis. Optimal pre-end-stage renal disease care involves early interventions aimed at delaying progression of chronic renal failure, judicious management of uremic complications, timely placement of vascular access, timely initiation of renal replacement therapy, and implementation of educational programs targeted at maximum rehabilitation. Given the fact that early referral to the nephrologist is likely to result in optimal pre-dialysis care, the 1993 National Institutes of Health Consensus Statement on Morbidity and Mortality of Dialysis recommended that referral of a patient to a renal team should occur at a serum creatinine of 1.5 mg/dL in women and 2.0 mg/dL in men. Several investigators also have argued that patients with chronic renal failure who begin dialysis at a relatively "high level of residual renal function" (early start) may have lower morbidity and mortality compared with patients who begin dialysis at a more traditional "low level of renal function" (late start). This hypothesis is based on evidence that declining renal function is associated with malnutrition and that malnutrition at the start of dialysis is associated with poor clinical outcomes. Furthermore, patients are started on dialysis at an endogenous solute clearance that is lower than that accepted as optimum for patients on dialysis. Finally, limited clinical studies have demonstrated the benefit of early initiation of dialysis. Consequently, the Peritoneal Dialysis Adequacy Work Group of the National Kidney Foundation-Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative recommends that dialysis be initiated when the weekly renal Kt/Vurea decreases to below 2.0 unless all three of the following criteria are fulfilled: (1) stable or increased edema-free body weight, (2) normalized protein equivalent of total nitrogen appearance greater than 0.8, and (3) absence of clinical symptoms and signs attributable to uremia.

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    • "Many of our patients presented at a stage requiring dialysis because of delay resulting from ignorance and superstitious beliefs, which often culminate in time wasting with spiritualists, herbalists and faith healers. Late presentation and delay in commencement of HD has been found to adversely affect outcome of these patients.[1819] It is however, pertinent to note that HD has sustained life of more than a million ESRD patients worldwide and has remained the commonest form of RRT in Nigeria. "
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    ABSTRACT: The cost of managing end stage renal disease (ESRD) is prohibitive in Nigeria and the burden is solely borne by patients and their relatives. Despite increasing number of dialysis centers in urban areas, actual utilization of such facilities is very low. It is unclear if the outcomes of these patients have improved in recent times. We evaluated pattern of hemodialysis (HD) performance and outcome among ESRD patients. A 5-year prospective cross-sectional study of all ESRD patients on HD was undertaken. The final outcomes included duration on maintenance dialysis, death from inability to sustain dialysis, absconded, confirmed deaths within or outside health facility or referral for kidney transplant. A total of 540 (54%) of 976 cases of ESRD commenced HD, out of which 7 (1.3%) eventually had live-related kidney transplant in India. The male to female ratio was 2:1 with male and female mean ages of 43 ± 17 and 36 ± 16 years respectively. There was a progressive annual increase in the number of ESRD patients. The commonest underlying renal disorder was chronic glomerulonephritis. The mean HD session duration was 8.11 ± 5.4 hours, while the mean duration of stay on HD was 8.72 ± 1.0 weeks. In conclusion, ESRD is common and is being increasingly recognized. Financial constraint and late presentation are major contributory factors to poor outcomes despite the widespread availability of HD facilities. Therefore, effort should be geared towards aggressive strategies for early detection and treatment. Government commitment in terms of funding and/or subsidy for patient with ESRD is advocated.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Indian Journal of Nephrology
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    • "Risk factors, which were analysed at 5 years, confirmed that an elevated calcium phosphate product, diabetes mellitus, vascular disease (such as peripheral vascular disease) and older age at the start of dialysis were independently predictive of mortality. In addition, the study identified low haemoglobin and lower eGFR prior to commencement of dialysis as good predictors of early mortality reflecting findings from other investigators [13,14]. We now present the extended ten-year data to highlight the impact and changes in risk factor profile and also further analysis using the Tangri risk calculator [15] and measures of slope change in eGFR prior to commencement of RRT. "
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    ABSTRACT: The natural history of patients commencing dialysis in East Yorkshire is not well characterised and there is little convincing evidence which has studied the impact of potential factors prior to commencement of renal replacement therapy (RRT) at predicting mortality during dialysis. The aim of this study was to examine the previously published 5-year data on end stage renal disease and co-morbid risk factors for mortality at 10 years. An observational cohort study of subjects commencing dialysis in 2001/02 in East Yorkshire with a mean follow up from dialysis initiation of 8.8years. Predictors of mortality were determined by univariate, multivariate analysis and survival via Kaplan-Meier analysis. Assessment of the utility of the Tangri risk calculator was carried out in addition to slope change in eGFR prior to dialysis commencement. Baseline characteristics and the preferred mode of dialysis remained concordant with the original trial. The mortality rate at the end of the study period was 60% (56/94) with 30% (29) of patients having been transplanted. Highlighted in the 5 year data a significant proportion of mortality was made up of vascular disease and sepsis (71%) but this proportion had decreased (57%) by 10 years. Cardiac disease was the commonest cause of death but notably in 18% of patients, death was related to dialysis or withdrawal of treatment. Vascular disease and diabetes remained independent risk factors and predicative of mortality. Calcium - phosphate product which was associated in the early years with mortality was not in later years. Use of the risk calculator was predictive of commencement of RRT but not mortality but slope change in eGFR was predictive of mortality. Although diabetes and vascular disease remained predictive of mortality, interestingly calcium-phosphate levels are no longer significant and may be a more specific predictor of early cardiac mortality. Slope eGFR changes prior to RRT are a predictor of mortality. We speculate that aggressive management of cardiac risk factors in addition to early transplantation may be key to influencing the impact of survival in this cohort in addition to possible measures to delay renal progression.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · BMC Nephrology
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    • "m2 for a 40 year old man) resulting in referral to a renal team for dialysis assessment, changed to every patient with urine abnormalities and an eGFR <90 mL/min/1.73 m2 receiving immediate further assessment and management [15,16]. Similarly, the recommended screening guidelines for Type 2 diabetes shifted to begin at age 41 instead of age 46 [13,14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Laboratory testing is one of the fastest growing areas of health services spending in Canada. We examine the extent to which increases in laboratory expenditures might be explained by testing that is consistent with guidelines for the management of chronic conditions, by analyzing fee-for-service physician payment data in British Columbia from 1996/97 and 2005/06. Method We used direct standardization to quantify the effect on laboratory expenditures from changes in: fee levels; population growth; population aging; treatment prevalence; expenditure on recommended tests for those conditions; and expenditure on other tests. The chronic conditions selected were those with guidelines containing laboratory recommendations developed by the BC Guidelines and Protocol Advisory Committee: diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, renal failure, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and dementia. Result Laboratory service expenditures increased by $98 million in 2005/06 compared to 1996/97, or 3.6% per year after controlling for population growth and aging. Testing consistent with guideline-recommended care for chronic conditions explained one-third (1.2% per year) of this growth. Changes in treatment prevalence were just as important, contributing 1.5% per year. Hypertension was the most common condition, but renal failure and dementia showed the largest changes in prevalence over time. Changes in other laboratory expenditure including for those without chronic conditions accounted for the remaining 0.9% growth per year. Conclusion Increases in treatment prevalence were the largest driver of laboratory cost increases between 1996/97 and 2005/06. There are several possible contributors to increasing treatment prevalence, all of which can be expected to continue to put pressure on health care expenditures.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · BMC Health Services Research
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