Reducing hemodialysis costs: conventional and quotidian home hemodialysis in Canada

Semin Dial. Mar-Apr 2004;17(2):118-24. doi: 10.1111/j.0894-0959.2004.17208.x.


The cost of hemodialysis is a concern as the prevalence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) increases. While home hemodialysis has been described as less expensive than in-center hemodialysis, the proportion of patients performing home hemodialysis has been declining. In Canada, there is increasing interest in daily (or quotidian) forms of home hemodialysis, such as nocturnal hemodialysis and short daily hemodialysis. We reviewed the recent Canadian experience with the costs of these modalities and identified four descriptive costing studies: two whole-program comparisons of home conventional hemodialysis and unmatched in-center hemodialysis patients, and two comparing quotidian home hemodialysis and matched in-center hemodialysis patients. All costs are listed as per patient-year in 2003 U.S. dollars. In the two whole-program analyses, conventional home hemodialysis was less expensive than in-center hemodialysis (36,840 USD versus 100,198 USD[p < 0.001] and 34,466 USD versus 58,959 USD[p < 0.001]). Reductions in categories such as staffing and overhead are likely due to the modality, while reductions in medications and hospital admissions may be due to differences in the patient mix. The savings for quotidian home hemodialysis are significant, but less striking. In the two matched analyses, nocturnal hemodialysis cost less than in-center hemodialysis (48,656 USD versus 59,476 USD [p = 0.006]), and costs decreased by 8,046 USD in those converted to short daily hemodialysis and by 14,341 USD in those converted to nocturnal hemodialysis, while increasing by 2,521 USD in those who remained on in-center hemodialysis. Home conventional hemodialysis is less expensive than in-center hemodialysis. Much of these savings are lost when dialysis frequency increases; however, quotidian home hemodialysis remains less expensive than in-center hemodialysis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cost Control
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Hemodialysis, Home / economics*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Prevalence
  • Renal Dialysis / economics*