Background: Recent studies have indicated a stabilization in the incidence rates of renal replacement therapy (RRT) for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in a number of European countries. The aim of this study was to provide an update on the incidence, prevalence and outcomes of RRT in Europe over the past decade.
Methods: Nineteen European national or regional renal registries with registry data from 1997 to 2006 participated in the study. Incidence and prevalence trends were analysed with Poisson and Joinpoint regression. Cox regression methods were used to examine patient survival.
Results: The total adjusted incidence rate of RRT for ESRD increased from 109.9 per million population (pmp) in 1997 to 119.7 pmp in 2000, i.e. an average annual percentage change (AAPC) of 2.9% (95% CI 2.1-3.8%). Thereafter, the incidence increased at a much lower rate to 125.4 pmp in 2006 [AAPC 0.6% (95% CI 0.3-0.8%)]. This change in the trend of the incidence of RRT was largely due to a stabilization in the incidence rates of RRT for females aged 65-74 years, males aged 75-84 years and patients receiving RRT for ESRD due to hypertension/renal vascular disease. The overall adjusted prevalence in Europe continued to increase linearly at 2.7% per year. Between the periods 1997-2001 and 2002-2006, the risk of death decreased for all treatment modalities, with the most substantial improvement in patients starting peritoneal dialysis [19% (95% CI 15-22%)] and in patients receiving a kidney transplant [17% (95% CI 11-23%)].
Conclusion: This European study shows that the annual rise of the overall incidence rate of RRT for ESRD has diminished and that in several age groups the incidence rates have now stabilized. The survival of dialysis patients and kidney transplant recipients has continued to improve.