Objective: To compare healthcare utilization and costs in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) beginning peritoneal dialysis (PD) or hemodialysis (HD).
Study design: Retrospective cohort study.
Methods: Using a US health insurance database, we identified all patients with ESRD who began dialysis between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2006. Patients were designated as PD patients or as HD patients based on first-noted treatment. Patients with less than 6 months of pretreatment data and those with less than 12 months of data following initiation of dialysis ("pretreatment" and "follow-up," respectively) were dropped from the study sample. The PD patients were matched to HD patients using propensity scoring to control for differences in pretreatment characteristics. Healthcare utilization and costs were then compared over 12 months between propensity-matched PD patients and HD patients using paired t tests and Wilcoxon signed rank tests for continuous variables and using Bowker and McNemar tests for categorical variables, as appropriate.
Results: A total of 463 patients met all study entrance criteria; 56 (12%) began treatment with PD, and 407 (88%) began treatment with HD. Fifty PD patients could be propensity matched to an equal number of HD patients. The HD patients were more than twice as likely as matched PD patients to be hospitalized over the subsequent 12 months (hazard ratio, 2.17; 95% confidence interval, 1.34-3.51; P <.01). Their median healthcare costs over the 12-month follow-up period were $43,510 higher ($173,507 vs $129,997 for PD patients, P = .03).
Conclusions: Among patients with ESRD, PD patients are less likely than HD patients to be hospitalized in the year following initiation of dialysis. They also have significantly lower total healthcare costs.