Overview: end-stage renal disease in the developing world

Artif Organs. 2002 Sep;26(9):737-46. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1594.2002.07061.x.


Although the vast majority of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) worldwide live in what is called the developing world, little is known about its epidemiology and management. With the current paucity of credible and adequately representative registries, it is justified to resort to innovative means of obtaining information. In this attempt, world-renowned leading nephrologists in 10 developing countries collaborated in filling a 103-item questionnaire addressing epidemiology, etiology, and management of ESRD in their respective countries on the basis of integrating available data from different sources. Through this joint effort, it was possible to identify a number of important trends. These include the expected high prevalence of ESRD, despite the limited access to renal replacement therapy, and the dependence of prevalence on wealth. Glomerulonephritis, rather than diabetes, remains as the main cause of ESRD with significant geographical variations in the prevailing histopathological types. The implementation of different modalities of renal replacement therapy (RRT) is inhibited by the lack of funding, although governments, insurance companies, and donations usually constitute the major sponsors. Hemodialysis is the preferred modality in most countries with the exception of Mexico where chronic ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) takes the lead. In several other countries, dialysis is available only for those on the transplant waiting list. Dialysis is associated with a high frequency of complications particularly HBV and HCV infections. Data on HIV are lacking. Aluminum intoxication remains as a major problem in a number of countries. Treatment withdrawal is common for socioeconomic reasons. Transplantation is offered to an average of 4 per million population (pmp). Recipient exclusion criteria are minimal. Donor selection criteria are generally loose regarding tissue typing, remote viral infection, and, in some countries, blood-relation to the recipient in live-donor transplants. Cadaver donors are accepted in many countries participating in this survey. Treatment outcomes with different RRT modalities are, on the average, inferior to the internationally acknowledged standards largely due to infective and cardiovascular complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Developing Countries / economics*
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Glomerulonephritis / complications
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / economics
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / adverse effects
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / economics*
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome