Rationale & objective: Current hemodialysis (HD) treatments have limited ability to clear larger-molecular-weight uremic toxins. Retention is associated with increased symptom burden, low health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and high mortality. Improved clearance, using novel medium cut-off dialyzers, termed expanded HD (HDx), may be associated with improved subjective experience. We have previously developed a dynamic patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) instrument to allow iterative recording to better appreciate the overall burden of disease and assess the impact of therapy changes.
Study design: Single-center interventional pilot study.
Setting & participants: 28 patients established on maintenance HD, London, Ontario, Canada.
Intervention: Initial study consisting of 2-week observation (baseline-conventional high-flux HD) followed by 12 weeks of HDx. HRQoL was assessed using the dynamic PROM instrument thrice weekly (enabled in a dedicated app as the London Evaluation of Illness [LEVIL]). Extension phase; 2-week baseline with 24 weeks of HDx and 8-week washout.
Outcomes: Principal aim was to establish whether HDx therapy was associated with improved HRQoL, evidence of dose-dependant response, and whether effects were durable over time, using LEVIL.
Results: Patients with lower LEVIL scores (<70/100) at baseline showed improvement in overall HRQoL after 8 weeks of therapy with similar carryover effect. General well-being, energy, and sleep quality were improved significantly as a consequence of HDx therapy. There were no detrimental effects of HDx detected in patients with higher baseline HRQoL.
Limitations: Small nonrandomized sample size. The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic interfered with the extension phase.
Conclusions: Dynamic PROM assessment effectively identified patients with lower HRQoL and higher symptom burden, demonstrating durable time/dose-dependent improvements across a range of symptom domains. The use of this instrument may allow targeted selection of patients most likely to benefit from HDx therapy and assist in monitoring response and defining effect size and treatment duration to allow optimal design of further definitive randomized controlled trials of this newly introduced technology.
Funding: Baxter Healthcare Canada.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03640858.
Keywords: Expanded dialysis; health-related quality-of-life; hemodialysis; patient reported outcome measures; symptoms.
© 2021 The Authors.