Despite the high prevalence of pain, sexual dysfunction, and depression in patients on chronic hemodialysis, these symptoms are often unrecognized and under-treated by renal providers. This report describes the rationale and methodology of the SMILE study (Symptom Management Involving End-Stage Renal Disease), a multi-center, randomized clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of two strategies for implementing treatment for these symptoms in patients receiving chronic hemodialysis. Approximately 250 patients from nine outpatient dialysis units will participate. Over a 2-12 month observational phase, participants complete monthly surveys characterizing their pain, sexual dysfunction, and depression. Following this observational period, subjects are randomized to one of two study arms to receive a 12-month intervention. In one study arm (feedback intervention), patients continue to complete the same three symptom surveys, and the presence and severity of the symptoms reported on these surveys is mailed to the patient's renal provider along with evidence-based algorithms outlining treatment options for these symptoms. Decisions on treatment are left at the discretion of the provider. Patients randomized to the other study arm (management intervention) also continue to complete the same monthly symptom surveys and are evaluated by a symptom management nurse trained in the management of these symptoms. This nurse then discusses the patient's symptoms with the renal provider, provides specific recommendations for treatment, and facilitates the implementation of treatment. The primary endpoints are changes in scores on pain, erectile dysfunction, and depression surveys. This report describes the rationale and methodology of this clinical trial.
Published by Elsevier Inc.