Background: Most studies looking at how the outcome of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is affected by the timing and quality of the care received before initiation of renal replacement therapy (RRT) are inconclusive.
Methods: Five hundred and two adult French patients (age, 62.8 +/- 16 years) receiving their first RRT were enrolled in a 2-year, community-based, prospective study. Subjects were assigned to 1 of 5 groups depending on the time between their first serum creatinine reading above 2 mg/dL (177 micromol/L): chronic renal failure (CRF) and nephrology referral (NR) and RRT. Multivariate logistic regression was used to analyze 90-day survival data, and data concerning long-term survival and inclusion on the waiting list for renal transplantation were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression.
Results: Overall survival rates were 88% at 90 days, 77.2% at 1 year, 65.2% at 2 years, and 54.2% at 3 years. The nephrology referral pattern was associated with age and systolic blood pressure, and independently predicted early death. Compared with group 1 (NR > 12 months), odds ratios (confidence interval 95%) were 2.7 (1.2 to 6.3) for group 2 (NR < or = 12 months or >4 months), 2.8 (1.0 to 8.0) for group 3 (NR < or = 4 months or >1 month), 4.9 (2.2 to 11.0) for group 4 (NR < or = 1 month; CRF > 1 month), and 5.2 (2.2 to 12.3) for group 5 (NR < or = 1 month; CRF < or = 1 month). Independent predictors of death in 90-day survivors were age, cardiac disease with previous episodes of heart failure, vascular disease, low diastolic blood pressure, and group 3 referral pattern. Not being entered on the waiting list for renal transplantation was predicted by age, diabetes, vascular disease, and nonelective first dialysis.
Conclusion: Late nephrology referral is strongly associated with early death. Emergency first dialysis is an independent risk factor for not being placed on the waiting list for transplantation. Among 90-day survivors, referral pattern has little influence on mortality, which is mainly determined by cardiovascular complications at initiation of RRT.