Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a widespread prevalent illness, currently the main cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Material and methods: In a longitudinal, prospective study we compared two cohorts of patients starting dialysis therapy, diabetic and non-diabetic ESRD patients. Perceived health was measured by the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire, functional status by the Karnofsky scale and comorbidity by the Charlson age-comorbidity index. A broad spectrum of variables in relation to diabetes, ESRD, comorbidity and renal replacement therapy (RRT) were studied, as well as the distribution of comorbidity frequencies at dialysis start.
Results: Thirty-four Spanish centers included 232 diabetic patients, 43 type 1 and 189 type 2, mean diabetes duration 18 +/- 9 yrs, and five centers included 121 non-diabetic patients. Out of the 232 diabetic patients, 187 patients (81%) started hemodialysis (HD) and 45 patients (19%) started peritoneal dialysis (PD) (vs. 82% and 18%, respectively in non-diabetic patients). Transient vascular access (VA) for starting RRT was required in 54% of the diabetic patients vs. 53% in the nondiabetic patients. When both study groups were compared, diabetic patients required antihypertensive drugs more frequently than non-diabetic patients and showed higher systolic blood pressure (BP), as well as higher cardiovascular (CV) complication incidences, poorer SF-36 physical component summary scores and mental component summary scores and worse Karnofsky scale scores, with the Charlson age-comorbidity score being higher.
Conclusion: Diabetic patients starting dialysis in Spain are more often type 2 diabetics, have worse perceived health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in relation to non-diabetic patients, worse functional status and higher incidences of prognostic mortality markers.