Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the health related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with kidney failure who had received renal transplants compared to those receiving haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or were waiting to start dialysis.
Research design and methods: The study was conducted at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. HRQOL was measured using the EQ-5D, SF-36 and the Kidney Disease Quality of life questionnaire (KDQOL). Patients with kidney failure were identified from the renal unit departmental database and were surveyed by postal questionnaire or during their treatment.
Results: Of 1251 people surveyed, 416 valid returns were received, a response rate of 33%. For renal transplant patients the mean EQ-5Dindex was 0.712 (SD 0.272), significantly higher than those in the other treatment groups (haemodialysis mean = 0.443 (SD 317), p < 0.001; peritoneal dialysis mean = 0.569 (SD 329), p < 0.001). This difference remained after controlling for age and co-morbidity. With the exception of pain, the SF-36 showed significantly higher scores across all domains for transplant patients compared to both dialysis groups. From the KDQOL there were significantly lower scores compared with the transplant patients for both groups of dialysis patients for the effects and burden of kidney disease and general symptoms and problems. However, overall health scores were significantly higher for dialysis patients compared with transplant patients.
Conclusion: Kidney failure has a high cost in terms of health related quality of life. There was a large difference between patients who have received a functioning graft following kidney transplant versus the alternative methods of renal replacement therapy, that is, peritoneal dialysis and haemodialysis. Kidney transplant should be the treatment of choice, and every effort should be made to increase the availability of kidneys for transplantation.