Background: Optimal clinical care of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) requires collaboration between primary care physicians (PCPs) and nephrologists. We undertook a randomised trial to determine the impact of superimposed nephrologist care compared to guidelines-directed management by PCPs in CKD patients after hospital discharge.
Methods: Stage 3b-4 CKD patients were enrolled during a hospitalization and randomised in two arms: Co-management by PCPs and nephrologists (interventional arm) versus management by PCPs with written instructions and consultations by nephrologists on demand (standard care). Our primary outcome was death or rehospitalisation within the 2 years post-randomisation. Secondary outcomes were: urgent renal replacement therapy (RRT), decline of renal function and decrease of quality of life at 2 years.
Results: From November 2009 to the end of June 2013, we randomised 242 patients. Mean follow-up was 51 + 20 months. Survival without rehospitalisation, GFR decline and elective dialysis initiation did not differ between the two arms. Quality of life was also similar in both groups. Compared to randomised patients, those who either declined to participate in the study or were previously known by nephrologists had a worse survival.
Conclusion: These results do not demonstrate a benefit of a regular renal care compared to guided PCPs care in terms of survival or dialysis initiation in CKD patients. Increased awareness of renal disease management among PCPs may be as effective as a co-management by PCPs and nephrologists in order to improve the prognosis of moderate-to-severe CKD.
Trial registration: This study was registered on June 29, 2009 in clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00929760) and adheres to CONSORT 2010 guidelines.
Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Co-management; Primary care; Prognosis; Quality of life.