Background: Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) have significant impairments in health-related quality of life (HRQOL). In part, this is due to the intrusiveness of the treatment (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) that is required. It is unclear whether hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis is associated with a higher HRQOL.
Methods: 192 prevalent patients who self-selected treatment with hemodialysis (either in-center, satellite or home/self-care hemodialysis) or peritoneal dialysis were studied to determine whether treatment with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis is associated with a higher HRQOL. Demographic, laboratory and clinical information (including the presence of comorbid conditions using the Charlson comorbidity index) was assessed at baseline. The outcome of interest was HRQOL, which was measured using the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-Short Form (KDQOL-SF), the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) and the EuroQol EQ-5D at baseline and after 6 and 12 months of follow-up.
Results: There was no significant difference in HRQOL scores for the SF-36, the EQ-5D and for 9 of 11 KDQOL dimensions for patients treated with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis at baseline. As expected, HRQOL was significantly lower for patients who had more comorbid disease, required assistance with their daily care, and for patients with less than a grade 12 education. After controlling for the effect of other important variables, HRQOL (as measured by the EQ-5D visual analog or index scores) did not differ between hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients. HRQOL was stable over time, both for patients who started on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
Conclusions: There is no significant difference in HRQOL for prevalent ESRD patients treated with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. It will be important to determine if this finding holds true for incident patients treated with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.