Background and objectives: Although women have a survival advantage in the general population, women on dialysis have similar mortality to men. We hypothesized that this paired mortality risk during dialysis may be explained by a relative excess of cardiovascular-related mortality in women.
Design, setting, participants, & measurements: We compared 5-year age-stratified cardiovascular and noncardiovascular mortality rates, relative risks, and hazard ratios in a European cohort of incident adult dialysis patients (European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association [ERA-EDTA] Registry) with the European general population (Eurostat). Cause of death was recorded by ERA-EDTA codes in dialysis patients and by International Statistical Classification of Diseases codes in the general population.
Results: Overall, sex did not have a predictive effect on outcome in dialysis. Stratification into age categories and causes of death showed greater noncardiovascular mortality in young women (<45 years). In other age categories (45 to 55 and >55 years), women presented lower cardiovascular mortality. This cardiovascular benefit was, however, smaller than in the general population. Stratification by diabetic nephropathy showed that diabetic women in all age categories remained at increased mortality risk compared with men, an effect mainly attributed to the noncardiovascular component.
Conclusions: Mortality rates and causes of death in men and women on dialysis vary with age. Increased noncardiovascular mortality may explain the loss of the survival advantage of women on dialysis. Both young and diabetic women starting dialysis are at a higher mortality risk than equal men.