Risk and Prognosis of Bloodstream Infections among Patients on Chronic Hemodialysis: A Population-Based Cohort Study

PLoS One. 2015 Apr 24;10(4):e0124547. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124547. eCollection 2015.


Background and objectives: Infections are common complications among patients on chronic hemodialysis. This population-based cohort study aims to estimate risk and case fatality of bloodstream infection among chronic hemodialysis patients.

Methods: In this population-based cohort study we identified residents with end-stage renal disease in Central and North Jutland, Denmark who had hemodialysis as first renal replacement therapy (hemodialysis patients) during 1995-2010. For each hemodialysis patient, we sampled 19 persons from the general population matched on age, gender, and municipality. Information on positive blood cultures was obtained from regional microbiology databases. All persons were observed from cohort entry until first episode of bloodstream infection, emigration, death, or end of hemodialysis treatment, whichever came first. Incidence-rates and incidence-rate ratios were computed and risk factors for bloodstream infection assessed by Poisson regression. Case fatality was compared by Cox regression.

Results: Among 1792 hemodialysis patients and 33 618 matched population controls, we identified 461 and 1126 first episodes of bloodstream infection, respectively. Incidence rates of first episode of bloodstream infection were 13.7 (95% confidence interval (CI), 12.5-15.0) per 100 person-years among hemodialysis patients and 0.53 (95% CI, 0.50-0.56) per 100 person-years among population controls. In hemodialysis patients, the most common causative microorganisms were Staphylococcus aureus (43.8%) and Escherichia coli (12.6%). The 30-day case fatality was similar among hemodialysis patients and population controls 16% (95% CI, 13%-20%) vs. 18% (95% CI, 15%-20%).

Conclusions: Hemodialysis patients have extraordinary high risk of bloodstream infection while short-term case fatality following is similar to that of population controls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Risk
  • Sepsis / epidemiology*
  • Sepsis / etiology*
  • Sepsis / mortality
  • Young Adult

Grant support

LD is supported by a PhD grant from the Faculty of Health Science, University of Aarhus, Denmark. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.