Factors affecting the use of peritoneal dialysis among the ESRD population in India: a single-center study

Sandeep Mahajan, Suresh C Tiwari, Vikram Kalra, Dipankar M Bhowmik, Sanjay K Agarwal
Peritoneal Dialysis International 2004, 24 (6): 538-41

OBJECTIVES: Factors such as limited health-care budget allotment and poor accessibility of the majority of the population to hemodialysis (HD) facilities should favor the use of peritoneal dialysis (PD) in India. However, only 6% of end-stage renal disease patients undergoing dialysis in India are on PD. We undertook this prospective study to evaluate various factors that could contribute to this low rate of use of PD at a tertiary-care state-run hospital in Northern India.

METHODS: All the patients who entered our HD or PD program from August 2001 to December 2003 were interviewed using a preset questionnaire. The questionnaire recorded their basic disease and comorbidity, social and demographic characteristics, awareness of the various modalities of renal replacement therapy (RRT), and the reasons for choosing their present modality of therapy. Treating nephrologists were also interviewed with respect to the factors that, in their opinion, were responsible for the limited use of PD at our institute.

RESULTS: In total, 342 patients on HD, 66 patients on PD, and 24 nephrologists were interviewed. The rate of PD use was 16.2%. Mean age of patients on HD and PD was 34.6 +/- 11.8 years and 62.9 +/- 10.3 years respectively (p < 0.0001). The incidence of diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease in the HD and PD populations was 2.5% and 62.5%, and 9.1% and 46.7% respectively (p < 0.0001 for both). Only 30.4% of patients on HD were aware of PD as a modality of RRT and 83.6% of them found PD to be expensive, 65.4% had low enthusiasm toward a domiciliary therapy such as PD, and 61.5% were not recommended PD by their nephrologist. Only 5 (7.6%) patients were initiated on PD directly, the remaining 61 patients were shifted from HD after a mean duration on HD of 185.3 +/- 15.4 days: 67.1% were shifted due to poor tolerance of HD, 29.4% were advised to shift to PD because of comorbidity and vascular access problems, and only 3.3% took up PD because of the independent lifestyle it offered. None of the interviewed nephrologists routinely discussed PD in predialysis counseling. They found financial constraints (100%), lack of patient enthusiasm (100%), doubtful patient compliance (83.2%), and lack of an organized PD program (79.2%) to be the main factors limiting more widespread use of PD at our institute.

CONCLUSIONS: Peritoneal dialysis is an underused modality of RRT at our institute. The patients who are taken up for PD at our institute are elderly and have a higher incidence of other comorbid conditions, such as diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease. Also, most patients who switch to PD do so due to their unsuitability for HD rather than by their own choice. The factors contributing to this low rate of use of PD are ignorance of PD, increased cost of therapy, low enthusiasm toward domiciliary therapy, and lack of adequate infrastructure for PD at our institute. Effective predialysis counseling, reduction in the cost of the therapy, and development of an adequate infrastructure can increase the rate of use of PD.

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