Background: Higher hospitalization rates among end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients impose a substantial burden on the U.S. health care system. Early identification of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and determination of factors associated with increased morbidity may lead to appropriate interventions to attenuate the complications of CKD and possibly reduce future resource utilization.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study of CKD patients in an outpatient nephrology clinic was performed to identify risk factors for hospitalization. The study population consisted of adults with elevated serum creatinine (females > or =1.5 mg/dL, males > or =2.0 mg/dL). Hospitalizations, hospital days and outpatient nephrology visits were examined.
Results: Among the 259 patients, 123 (47%) were hospitalized during a median follow-up of 11.4 months. The number of hospitalizations and hospital days per patient-year at risk were 0.96 and 6.6, respectively. Cardiovascular disease/hypertension accounted for the majority of hospitalizations. In a multivariate regression analysis, older age (RR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00, 1.03) and presence of cardiac disease (RR 1.91, 95% CI 1.19, 3.07) were associated with higher risk of hospitalization while higher serum albumin (RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.35, 0.95) and higher hematocrit (RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.87, 0.97) were associated with lower risk of hospitalization. Higher serum albumin (RR 0.34, 95% CI 0.21, 0.55), higher hematocrit (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.81, 0.93) and use of ACE-inhibitors (RR 0.63, 95% CI 0.47, 0.84) were associated with lower risk of subsequent hospital days. Erythropoietin (RR 1.47, 95% CI 1.11, 1.82) use was associated with higher risk of outpatient nephrology visits.
Conclusion: Certain potentially modifiable factors appear to be associated with increased resource utilization. It is hypothesized that attention to these factors may lead to improved outcomes in this patient population, which could result in reduced utilization.