Background: Resurgence of interest in home haemodialysis (HHD) is, in part, due to emerging evidence of the benefits of extended HD regimens, which are most feasibly provided in the home setting. Although specific HHD therapy established at home such as nocturnal HD (NHD) has been reported from individual programmes, little is known about overall HHD success.
Methods: The study included 166 patients who were accepted in the Manchester (UK) HHD training programme through liberal selection criteria. All patients were followed up prospectively until a switch to alternative modality, to include 4528 patient-months of follow-up and about 81 508 HHD sessions during an 8-year period (January 2004-December 2011). Twenty-four patients switched to an alternative modality during the period. Combined technique survival (HHDc) as a composite of training (HHDtr) and at home (HHDhome) was analysed and clinical predictors of HHD modality failure since the commencement of the programme were calculated using Cox regression analysis. Technology-related interruptions to dialysis over a 12-month period and patient-reported reasons for quitting the programme were analysed.
Results: Technique survival at 1, 2 and 5 years was 90.2, 87.4, 81.5% (HHDc) and 98.4, 95.4 and 88.9% (HHDhome) when censored for training phase exits, death and transplantation. The combined HHDc modality switch rate is 1 in 192 patient-months of dialysis follow-up. Age >60 years, diabetes, cardiac failure, unit decrease in Hb and increasing score of age-adjusted Charlson--comorbidity index were significantly associated with technique failure. Significant clinical predictors of HHD technique failure in a multivariate model were diabetes (P = 0.002) and cardiac failure (P = 0.05). The majority (61%) switched to an alternative modality for non-medical reasons. The composite of operator error and mechanical breakdown resulting in temporary HHD technique failure was 0.7% per year.
Conclusions: HHD training and technique failure rate are low. Technical errors are infrequent too. Diabetes and cardiac failure are associated with significant risk of technique failure. Although absolute rates are low, training failure is proportionally quite significant, highlighting the importance of reporting the composite technique failure rate (to include early HHD training phase) in HHD programmes.
Keywords: composite; home haemodialysis; technique failure; technique success; training.