Background: It has been suggested that there are no large differences in the quality of life of incident patients starting on haemodialysis (HD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD), but few studies have addressed this issue.
Methods: Association of modality with incident patients' health status and quality of life scores was investigated with propensity score (PS) analysis and also with traditional multivariable regression analyses. We compared patient reported health status and quality of life scores after 1 year of therapy in 455 HD and 413 PD patients who participated in a national study, stayed on the same modality and had complete socio-demographic and clinical information needed to create a PS indicating their expected probability of starting on PD.
Results: One year scores on the majority of health status and quality of life measures were not significantly different for HD and PD patients within propensity-matched quintiles. PD patients' scores were higher than HD patients' scores on effects of kidney disease, burden of kidney disease, staff encouragement and satisfaction with care in some quintiles, and traditional regression analyses confirmed that dialysis modality was associated with patients' scores on these variables.
Conclusions: This study provides support for making the choice of PD more widely available as an option to patients initiating chronic dialysis therapy. Patient lifestyle opportunities associated with use of PD, a home-based and self-care therapy, may also apply to home-based HD or in-centre self-care HD. Patients' expectations regarding treatment and their attitudes toward management of their health may interact with treatment modality to shape patient-reported experience on dialysis; this is an important focus for future studies.