Background: The requirement for hospitalization of patients on dialysis is likely to be a surrogate marker of age and comorbid diseases. It may also reflect the level of care delivered, and substantially increases the cost of this expensive therapy.
Aim: To identify the factors most strongly associated with hospitalization.
Design: Prospective population study.
Methods: Data were recorded for all patients starting RRT in Scotland over one year, including the reasons for and duration of, each hospital admission during the first year of RRT. Factors most strongly associated with hospitalization were determined by Poisson regression analysis.
Results: Overall, 526 patients were admitted to hospital on 1668 occasions (median 3, IQR 1-4) for 13384 days (median 13, IQR 4-35). Formation of vascular access for haemodialysis (HD) was the most frequent reason for admission, followed by infections. Age, comorbidity, mode of presentation for RRT and primary renal diagnosis were all significantly associated with prolonged hospitalization. Attainment of UK Renal Association standards for urea reduction ratio and serum albumin concentration, and vascular access in the form of arterio-venous fistulae were associated with less hospitalization in patients treated with HD by 90 days.
Discussion: Patients in their first year of RRT have a high requirement for in-patient care, 8.6% of patient treatment days being spent in hospital. Vascular access formation, failure and complications account for a large proportion of this. Age and comorbidity prolong the time spent in hospital. As the RRT population continues to increase, with older patients and those with greater comorbidity, in-patient facilities must also expand.