Provider perspectives on treatment decision-making in nephrotic syndrome

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2017 Jan 1;32(suppl_1):i106-i114. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfw309.


Background: Managing patients with nephrotic syndrome (NS) remains difficult for the practicing nephrologist. This often young patient population is faced with a debilitating, relapsing and remitting disease with non-specific treatment options that are often poorly tolerated. Clinicians managing these complex patients must attempt to apply disease-specific evidence while considering the individual patient's clinical and personal situation.

Methods: We conducted qualitative interviews to ascertain the provider perspectives of NS, treatment options and factors that influence recommendations for disease management, and administered a survey to assess both facilitators and barriers to the implementation of the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) guidelines.

Results: When making treatment recommendations, providers considered characteristics of various treatments such as efficacy, side effects and evaluation of risk versus benefit, taking into account how the specific treatment fit with the individual patient. Time constraints and the complexity of explaining the intricacies of NS were noted as significant barriers to care. Although the availability of guidelines was deemed a facilitator to care, the value of the KDIGO guidelines was limited by the perception of poor quality of evidence.

Conclusions: The complexity of NS and the scarcity of robust evidence to support treatment recommendations are common challenges reported by nephrologists. Future development and use of shared learning platforms may support the integration of best available evidence, patient/family preferences and exchange of information at a pace that is unconstrained by the outpatient clinic schedule.

Keywords: KDIGO guidelines; learning needs; nephrotic syndrome; qualitative approaches; treatment decision-making.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Decision Making*
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / therapy*
  • Patient Preference
  • Perception
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires