Background and objectives: Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) after acute kidney injury (AKI) is an area of great importance to patients. It was hypothesized that HRQOL after AKI would relate to intensity of dialysis during AKI and dialysis dependence at follow-up.
Design, setting, participants, & measurements: The Veterans Affairs/National Institutes of Health Acute Renal Failure Trial Network Study was a multicenter, prospective, randomized trial of intensive versus less intensive renal replacement therapy in critically ill patients with AKI. Of 1124 participants, 415 survived at least 60 days and completed the Health Utilities Index (HUI), which measures 8 health attributes and calculates an overall HRQOL score, also called a utility score. How strongly pre-intensive care unit (ICU) health, severity of illness, hospital course, intensity of dialysis, and outcome were associated with 60-day HUI scores was assessed, after adjustment for demographics.
Results: The overall HUI score was 0.40 +/- 0.37, indicating severely compromised health utility and was associated with only admission from home and hospital and ICU length of stay (LOS). Ambulation was better among those with a shorter hospital and ICU LOS. Better cognition was associated with dialysis independence and with fewer comorbid chronic illnesses. Emotion was associated with only hospital LOS. Pain was associated with ICU LOS.
Conclusions: Health utility was low in this cohort of patients after AKI, and intensity of dialysis did not affect subsequent health utility. The effects of a lengthy hospitalization generally outweighed the effects of delayed recovery of kidney function on HRQOL after AKI.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00076219.