Decline in the Functional Status and Mortality in Patients on Hemodialysis: Results from the Japan Dialysis Outcome and Practice Patterns Study

J Ren Nutr. 2019 Nov;29(6):504-510. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2018.10.012. Epub 2018 Dec 24.


Objectives: Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) treated with hemodialysis suffer a high burden of poor functional status. Poor functional status is known as a strong, consistent predictor of mortality. However, little is known about the trajectory of functional status and its association with clinical outcomes in the ESRD population. We examined the association between a change in the functional status over time and all-cause mortality among patients on hemodialysis.

Design and methods: This was a prospective cohort study of 817 patients with ESRD on hemodialysis with repeat measures of functional status, who enrolled in the Japan Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study phase V. The functional status was assessed based on the Katz Index and Lawton-Brody instrumental activities of daily living scale, and the assessments were conducted twice over a median of 361 (range: 339-378) days between 2012 and 2013. We classified patients into 2 groups based on having or not having at least a 1-point decline in the functional status score. To evaluate the association between the decline in the functional status and all-cause mortality with adjustment for potential confounders, a Cox regression analysis was conducted.

Results: Over the study period, 19.9% of the patients showed a decline in the functional status score. During the follow-up period, 44 (5.4%) patients died. Using the Cox regression analysis and adjusting for potential confounders, it was determined that the decline in functional status score was significantly associated with higher mortality (incidence rate: 2.2 vs. 7.0 per 100 person-years; adjusted hazard ratio: 2.68; 95% confidence interval: 1.31-5.50).

Conclusions: The present study provides evidence that ESRD patients on hemodialysis demonstrating a decline in the functional status are at elevated risk of mortality. Our findings strengthen the evidence underpinning the importance of interventions to maintain the functional status in this vulnerable population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Functional Performance*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Treatment Outcome