An evaluation of an integrative care approach for end-stage renal disease patients

W Van Biesen, R C Vanholder, N Veys, A Dhondt, N H Lameire
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: JASN 2000, 11 (1): 116-25
Studies analyzing the outcome of integrative care of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, whereby patients are transferred from one renal replacement modality to another according to individual needs, are scant. In this study, we analyzed 417 files of 223 hemodialysis (HD) and 194 peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients starting renal replacement therapy between 1979 and 1996, to evaluate the effect of such an approach. Analysis was done for survival of patients on their first modality, for intention-to-treat survival (counting total time on renal replacement therapy, but with exclusion of time on transplantation), and for total survival. Log rank analysis was used and correction for risk factors was performed by Cox proportional hazards regression. Intention-to-treat survival and total survival were not different between PD and HD patients (log rank, P > 0.05). Technique success was higher in HD patients compared to PD patients (log rank, P = 0.01), with a success rate after 3 yr of 61 and 48%, respectively. Thirty-five patients were transferred from HD to PD and 32 from PD to HD. Transfer of PD patients to HD was accompanied by an increase in survival compared to those remaining on PD (log rank, P = 0.001), whereas, in contrast, transfer of patients from HD to PD was not (log rank, P = 0.17). Survival of patients remaining more than 48 mo on their initial modality was lower for PD patients (log rank, P < 0.01). A matched-pair analysis between patients who started on PD and who were transferred to HD later (by definition called integrative care patients), and patients who started and remained on HD, showed a survival advantage for the integrative care patients. These results indicate that patient outcome is not jeopardized by starting patients on PD, at least if patients are transferred in a timely manner to HD when PD-related problems arise.

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