Temporal Trends in Incident Mortality in Dialysis Patients: Focus on Sex and Racial Disparities

Am J Nephrol. 2019;49(3):241-253. doi: 10.1159/000497446. Epub 2019 Feb 28.


Background: Racial minorities and women constitute substantial portions of the incident and prevalent end-stage renal disease (ESRD) population in the United States. Although ESRD is characterized by high mortality, temporal trends, and race and sex differences in mortality have not been studied.

Methods: We evaluated 944,650 adult patients who initiated dialysis between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2014, using the United States Renal Data System, for sex-related and race-related trends in mortality. Logistic regression models adjusted for pre-dialysis health status were used to examine associations among the predictors' sex, race, and year of incident dialysis, and the outcome all-cause mortality at 1-year post ESRD.

Results: The mean age was 65 ± 14 years. The 1-year crude mortality rates in incident ESRD patients decreased by 28% from 2004 to 2015. Risk-adjusted 1-year mortality decreased by 3% for each later year of incident ESRD (p < 0.001). In general, from 2005 to 2014, mortality rates decreased across both sexes, and all races. White patients experienced the lowest reduction in adjusted 1-year mortality rates (16%). While women experienced a survival advantage over men in 2005, by 2014 it was reversed to survival advantage for men. Combining all years, the adjusted risk of dying at 1-year after initiating dialysis was lower in women than men (OR 0.98; 95% CI 0.97-0.99), and as compared to whites, was lower in blacks (OR 0.73; 95% CI -0.72-0.74), Hispanics (OR 0.64; 95% CI 0.63-0.65), Asians (OR 0.55; 95% CI 0.53-0.56), and Native Americans (OR 0.67; 95% CI 0.63-0.71).

Conclusion: The 1-year mortality rates among patients with ESRD have decreased steadily during a recent 10-year period across both men and women, and in all 5 races. Women have only a 2% lower risk of dying at 1-year after dialysis initiation than men. White patients had higher mortality as compared to other races. Our results suggest the need for sex, and race-specific treatment strategies in ESRD care.

Keywords: Dialysis; Disparities; Mortality; Race; Sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Continental Population Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult