Among end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients on hemodialysis, death from withdrawal from life-sustaining dialysis is increasingly common. The present study's objective was to examine depression as a potential risk factor for hemodialysis withdrawal. Two hundred forty ESRD hemodialysis (133 male and 107 female) patients were followed for an average of 4 years after depression symptom assessment. Of these, 18% withdrew from dialysis. Using multivariate survival analysis and after controlling for the effects of age (p < .001) and clinical variables, the authors found that level of depression symptoms was a unique and significant predictive risk factor for the subsequent decision to withdraw from dialysis (p < .05). The potential impact that depression may have on the decision to withdraw from hemodialysis should be considered by health care providers, patient families, and patients.
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