Quality of life in advanced renal disease managed either by haemodialysis or conservative care in older patients

BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2023 Mar;13(1):87-94. doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002237. Epub 2020 Sep 11.


Objective: Consideration of quality of life (QoL) in people with end-stage renal disease has become an important part of treatment decision-making. The aim of this study was to report on QoL and other functional outcomes in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Method: This was a cross-sectional study. Two samples of older patients (>60 years old) either conservatively managed (CM) or receiving hospital-based haemodialysis (HD), compared Kidney Disease Quality of Life (KDQoL-36) outcomes.

Results: Data from 263 CM patients (CKD 4 n=188, mean age 73.6 years, 48 women; CKD 5 n=75, mean age 74.4 years, 26 women) and 74 patients on HD (mean age 73.8 years, 24 women) were analysed. Significant group differences were identified for two subscales of KDQoL-36. Symptoms/Problems List subscale was significantly better for those receiving HD compared with those CM with CKD 5 (p=<0.001). Symptom/Problem List scores of CM CKD stage 4 patients were not significantly different compared with HD patients but were significantly better than CM CKD stage 5 patients (p<0.001). Burden of Kidney Disease subscale was significantly better for both CKD 4 (p<0.001) and CKD 5 (p<0.001) CM patients when compared with those receiving HD.

Conclusion: Symptoms of advanced CKD significantly impact QoL for patients CM with CKD stage 5. Conversely, QoL is significantly impacted for those in receipt of HD due to the burden of treatment. These findings provide evidence for the use of QoL tools to help with clinical prognostication in advanced CKD. Using QoL tools will ensure specialist support is available for appropriate management of patients with CKD.

Keywords: clinical decisions; quality of life; renal failure; supportive care.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / therapy