Context: Patients with end-stage renal disease on dialysis have reduced survival rates compared with the general population. Symptoms are frequent in dialysis patients, and a symptom cluster is defined as two or more related co-occurring symptoms.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the associations between symptom clusters and mortality in dialysis patients.
Methods: In a prospective observational cohort study of dialysis patients (n = 301), Kidney Disease and Quality of Life Short Form and Beck Depression Inventory questionnaires were administered. To generate symptom clusters, principal component analysis with varimax rotation was used on 11 kidney-specific self-reported physical symptoms. A Beck Depression Inventory score of 16 or greater was defined as clinically significant depressive symptoms. Physical and mental component summary scores were generated from Short Form-36. Multivariate Cox regression analysis was used for the survival analysis, Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank statistics were applied to compare survival rates between the groups.
Results: Three different symptom clusters were identified; one included loading of several uremic symptoms. In multivariate analyses and after adjustment for health-related quality of life and depressive symptoms, the worst perceived quartile of the "uremic" symptom cluster independently predicted all-cause mortality (hazard ratio 2.47, 95% CI 1.44-4.22, P = 0.001) compared with the other quartiles during a follow-up period that ranged from four to 52 months. The two other symptom clusters ("neuromuscular" and "skin") or the individual symptoms did not predict mortality.
Conclusion: Clustering of uremic symptoms predicted mortality. Assessing co-occurring symptoms rather than single symptoms may help to identify dialysis patients at high risk for mortality.
Keywords: End-stage renal disease; dialysis; mortality; quality of life; symptom cluster; symptoms.
Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.