Background: Patients starting renal replacement therapy (RRT) for end-stage renal disease often present with one or more co-morbidities. This study explored the prevalence of co-morbidities in patients who started RRT in Europe during the period from 2005 to 2014.
Methods: Using data from patients aged 20 years or older from all 11 national or regional registries providing co-morbidity data to the European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Association Registry, we examined the prevalence of the following co-morbidities: diabetes mellitus (DM) (primary renal disease and/or co-morbidity), ischaemic heart disease (IHD), congestive heart failure (CHF), peripheral vascular disease (PVD), cerebrovascular disease (CVD) and malignancy.
Results: Overall, 70% of 7578 patients who initiated RRT in 2014 presented with at least one co-morbidity: 39.0% presented with DM, 25.0% with IHD, 22.3% with CHF, 17.7% with PVD, 16.4% with malignancy and 15.5% with CVD. These percentages differed substantially between countries. Co-morbidities were more common in men than in women, in older patients than in younger patients, and in patients on haemodialysis at Day 91 when compared with patients on peritoneal dialysis. Between 2005 and 2014 the prevalence of DM and malignancy increased over time, whereas the prevalence of IHD and PVD declined.
Conclusions: More than two-thirds of patients initiating RRT in Europe have at least one co-morbidity. With the rising age at the start of RRT over the last decade, there have been changes in the co-morbidity pattern: the prevalence of cardiovascular co-morbidities decreased, while the prevalence of DM and malignancy increased.