Background: Patients with advanced renal failure are increasingly opting for conservative treatment, yet little is known of their palliative care needs.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study, examining symptom burden and quality of life in patients with advanced renal failure (estimated GFR < 17 mL/min; n = 11). A contemporary cohort with terminal malignancy acted as comparators (n = 11). Symptom burden was scored using an extended Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale Short Form questionnaire. Quality of life was assessed using the Euroqol-5Q questionnaire. Demographic and pathological data, performance status and co-morbidity were also recorded.
Results: Baseline characteristics were similar for the two groups. Symptom burden (renal 17; cancer 15; P =NS) and quality of life scores (renal 60; cancer 60; P =NS) were remarkably similar. Both groups reported high levels of psychological distress.
Conclusions: Patients with advanced renal failure experience a symptom burden and impairment of quality of life similar to that of patients with terminal malignancy.