Importance: Survival of patients receiving dialysis has improved during the last 2 decades. However, few studies have examined temporal trends in the attributed causes of death (especially cardiovascular-related) in young populations.
Objective: To determine temporal trends and risk of cause-specific mortality (ie, cardiovascular and infectious) for children and young adults receiving dialysis.
Design, setting, and participants: This retrospective cohort study examined the records of children and young adults (aged <30 years) starting dialysis between 1995 and 2015 according to the United States Renal Data System database. Analyses were performed between June 2019 and June 2020. Fine-Gray models were used to examine trends in risk of different cardiovascular-related deaths. Models were adjusted for age, sex, race, neighborhood income, cause of end-stage kidney disease, insurance type, and comorbidities. Analyses were performed separately for children (ie, age <18 years) and young adults (between ages 18 and 30 years). Follow-up was censored at death or administratively, and transplantation was treated as a competing event.
Exposures: Calendar year.
Main outcomes and measures: Cardiovascular cause-specific mortality.
Results: A total of 80 189 individuals (median [interquartile range] age, 24 [19-28] years; 36 259 [45.2%] female, 29 508 [36.8%] Black, and 15 516 [19.3%] Hispanic white) started dialysis and 16 179 experienced death during a median (interquartile range) of 14.3 (14.0-14.7) years of follow-up. Overall, 40.2% of deaths were from cardiovascular-related causes (6505 of 16 179 patients). In adjusted analysis, risk of cardiovascular-related death was stable initially but became statistically significantly lower after 2006 (vs 1995) in those starting dialysis as either children (subhazard ratio [SHR], 0.74; 95% CI, 0.55-1.00) or adults (SHR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.83-0.98). Risk of sudden cardiac death improved steadily for all age groups, but to a greater degree in children (SHR, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.20-0.47) vs young adults (SHR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.56-0.73) comparing 2015 vs 1995. Risk of stroke became statistically significantly lower around 2010 (vs 1995) for children (SHR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.18-0.88) and young adults (SHR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.59-0.99).
Conclusions and relevance: In this study, the risk of cardiovascular-related death declined for children and young adults starting dialysis during the last 2 decades, but trends differed depending on age at dialysis initiation and the specific cause of death. Additional studies are needed to improve risk of cardiovascular disease in young populations.