Background: Haemodialysis (HD) is a life-saving but burdensome therapy for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) which can have a detrimental impact on patients' quality of life and outcomes. There is currently little data on the health related quality of life (HRQOL) of Chinese ESRD patients undergoing HD and this study sought to examine the patterns of HRQOL and its associated factors within this population, as well as in comparison with the general local population.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of 244 ESRD patients receiving HD in the hospital and in the community in Hong Kong was conducted using the Short Form-12 Health Survey version 2 (SF-12v2). All study subjects were one-to-one matched with subjects in a Hong Kong general population database by sex and exact age. Independent t-tests were performed to compare the mean SF-12v2 scores between HD patients and the general population, followed by one-way analysis of variance with post hoc Tukey's HSD tests to compare community-based haemodialysis, hospital-based haemodialysis and the general population. Multiple linear regressions were used to identify the factors (socio-demographic, clinical characteristics and comorbidities) associated with the HRQOL scores of ESRD patients receiving HD.
Results: The SF-12v2 Physical Functioning, Role Physical, Bodily Pain, General Health and Physical Component Summary scores of HD patients were significantly lower than the age-sex adjusted general population. However, the SF-12v2 Mental Health and Mental Component Summary scores of HD patients were significantly higher than the corresponding general population. Poorer HRQOL was associated with being female, smoking, unemployment and hospital-based haemodialysis.
Conclusions: HD patients had substantially poorer physical HRQOL but better mental HRQOL than the age-sex adjusted general population. Patients receiving HD in the community setting had better HRQOL. Reasons for these observations will need to be further investigated. Those patients who are female, smokers and unemployed may warrant more attention as their poorer HRQOL may be associated with poorer outcomes.