Sleepiness, sleeplessness, and pain in end-stage renal disease: distressing symptoms for patients

Semin Dial. Mar-Apr 2005;18(2):109-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-139X.2005.18218.x.


Symptoms are increasingly recognized as problematic for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) treated with dialysis. Sleep disorders are common in ESRD patients treated with dialysis and are associated with patients' perceptions of quality of life, assessed by diverse measures, as well as depressive affect. Sleep disorders appear to be equally prevalent in peritoneal dialysis (PD) and hemodialysis (HD) patients. Treatment for sleep disorders in dialysis patients depends on establishing the diagnosis, often in a sleep laboratory, using polysomnography. Reversing coexistent medical and psychological disorders is important. The sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) can be treated with continuous positive airway pressure in dialysis patients, but conventional hemodialytic techniques have little effect on its severity. In contrast, nocturnal HD and transplantation appear to have important beneficial effects on sleep disordered breathing in ESRD patients. Although pain has been appreciated as a problem for ESRD patients for more than 20 years, few studies exist on this subject. Pain appears to be an underappreciated problem for ESRD patients. More research must be performed on the problem of pain in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / classification
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy
  • Uremia / complications