Background: Timely referral, preparation and initiation of dialysis remain problematic issues. The purpose of this study is to analyse the effect of chronic renal disease care and education on the mode of dialysis start (planned vs non-planned) and on the modality of renal replacement therapy (RRT).
Methods: A total of 1504 patients from 35 hospitals started RRT in 2003. Out-patient, scheduled initiation of dialysis with a permanent vascular or peritoneal access was considered planned.
Results: About 46% of the patients started non-planned dialysis. Of all the patients, 75% had > or =3 months of nephrological follow-up, but nearly half were never educated on dialysis options. Haemodialysis (HD) occurred in 82% and peritoneal dialysis (PD) in 18%. Planned starts were associated (all P < 0.001) with many factors: younger age, longer renal and pre-dialysis follow-up, more education on RRT and general care, more medical visits, more PD (27 vs 8%), more follow-up by specific end-stage renal disease (ESRD) units, more permanent access and better biochemical status at the start of dialysis. Some global differences were found between patients: planned vs non-planned with > or =3 months of follow-up, vs non-planned <3 months follow-up or acute non-planned and <3 months of follow-up or acute patients. HD occurred in a similar rate (92%) in patients with non-planned start, no previous follow-up or who were never educated in dialysis modality options.
Conclusion: Although a high prevalence of nephrologic care and follow-up was provided among incident patients in dialysis, nearly half the patients did not have a planned dialysis start nor dialysis modality education. Planned start was associated with better analytical and multidisciplinary status. PD was more prevalent in planned starts and when education was given. Specific ESRD units were more likely to provide an optimal care.