Background: Health-related quality of life (QOL) is an important outcome for older people who are often on dialysis for life. Little is, however, known about differences in QOL on haemodialysis (HD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD) in older age groups. Randomising patients to either modality to assess outcomes is not feasible.
Methods: In this cross-sectional, multi-centred study we conducted QOL assessments (Short Form-12 Mental and Physical Component Summary scales, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Illness Intrusiveness Ratings Scale) in 140 people (aged 65 years or older) on PD and HD.
Results: The groups were similar in age, gender, time on dialysis, ethnicity, Index of Deprivation (based on postcode), dialysis adequacy, cognitive function (Mini-Mental State Exam and Trail-Making Test B), nutritional status (Subjective Global Assessment) and social networks. There was a higher comorbidity score in the HD group. Regression analyses were undertaken to ascertain which variables significantly influence each QOL assessment. All were influenced by symptom count highlighting that the patient's perception of their symptoms is a critical determinant of their mental and physical well being. Modality was found to be an independent predictor of illness intrusion with greater intrusion felt in those on HD.
Conclusions: Overall, in two closely matched demographic groups of older dialysis patients, QOL was similar, if not better, in those on PD. This study strongly supports offering PD to all suitable older people.