Background: Kidney transplantation is the gold standard renal replacement therapy. Nocturnal haemodialysis (NHD) is an intensive dialysis modality (6-8 h/session, 3-7 sessions/week) associated with a significant improvement of clinical and biochemical parameters compared to conventional dialysis. To date, no studies have compared survival in patients treated with NHD and kidney transplantation.
Methods: Using data from two regional NHD programmes and the USRDS from 1994 to 2006, we performed a matched cohort study comparing survival between NHD and deceased and living donor kidney transplantation (DTX and LTX) by randomly matching NHD patients to transplant recipients in a 1:3:3 ratio. The independent association of treatment modality with survival was determined using Cox multivariate regression.
Results: The total study population consisted of 177 NHD patients matched to 1062 DTX and LTX recipients (total 1239 patients) followed for a maximum of 12.4 years. During the follow-up period, the proportion of deaths among NHD, DTX and LTX patients was 14.7%, 14.3% and 8.5%, respectively (P = 0.006). We found no difference in the adjusted survival between NHD and DTX (HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.50-1.51; NHD reference group), while LTX survival was better (HR 0.51, 95% CI 0.28-0.91).
Conclusions: These results indicate that NHD and DTX survival is comparable, and suggest that this intensive dialysis modality may be a bridge to transplantation or even a suitable alternative in the absence of LTX in the current era of growing transplant waiting lists and organ shortage.