Objective: To assess long-term survival and health-related quality of life in patients with acute renal failure.
Design and setting: Cross-sectional cohort study in the ten-bed medical-surgical intensive care unit and the three-bed acute dialysis unit in a tertiary care hospital.
Patients: 703 patients receiving renal replacement therapy for acute renal failure during 1998-2002.
Measurements and results: The mortality rate was 41% at 28 days, 57% at 1 year, and 70% at 5 years. SOFA score, age, and continuous renal replacement therapy were independent predictors of 1-year mortality. The median follow-up time was 3.9 years for mortality and 2.4 years for health-related quality of life. Of the 229 survivors in 2003, 153 (67%) responded to the health-related quality of life questionnaire. Health-related quality of life was evaluated with the EuroQol (EQ-5D) instrument including a visual analogue scale (VAS) score to evaluate the patient's perceived health. The EQ-5D score was significantly lower in the study population than in the age- and gender-matched Finnish population (0.68 vs. 0.86). Median VAS scores were 69.5 and 70.0, respectively. Patients' age and duration of follow-up had no significant effect on EQ-5D or VAS scores. Mortality and EQ-5D data were used to calculate quality-adjusted life years. Quality-adjusted survival was poor (15 quality-adjusted life years per 100 patients in the first year of follow-up).
Conclusions: The long-term survival of patients with acute renal failure is poor. Although survivors have a low health-related quality of life, they are as satisfied with their health as the general population.