Evolution of Quality of Life in Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 4-5 Patients Transitioning to Dialysis and Transplantation

Nephron. 2022;146(5):439-448. doi: 10.1159/000521771. Epub 2022 Feb 9.


Introduction: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has a profound effect on patients' health-related quality of life (QoL). Longitudinal studies on QoL in CKD are scarce and have explored selected patients on renal replacement therapy (RRT). We studied the evolution of QoL in patients with advanced CKD transitioning to dialysis and transplantation in a prospective follow-up study.

Methods: A total of 100 participants of the Chronic Arterial Disease, Quality of Life, and Mortality in Chronic Kidney Injury (CADKID) study were enrolled in the study. Kidney Disease Quality of Life Short Form, biochemistry, and echocardiography were obtained at baseline and after a median interval of 33 (range 12-85) months.

Results: At the time of the follow-up QoL assessment, 32 patients were not receiving RRT, 30 were on hemodialysis (HD), 19 on peritoneal dialysis (PD), and 19 had received a kidney transplant. Among kidney transplant recipients (KTRs), "Burden of Kidney Disease" and "General Health" domains improved compared to patients who initiated HD (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.007, respectively), PD (p = 0.0005 and p = 0.03, respectively), or remained in predialysis care (p = 0.009 and p = 0.003, respectively) while "Effects of Kidney Disease" improved compared to those who started HD (p = 0.004) or PD (p = 0.002). The change in Short Form-36 (SF-36) Physical Component Summary was not different between patients on different treatment modalities. Higher plasma albumin and cholesterol levels were associated with improved QoL in "Symptoms/Problems" (r = 0.28, p = 0.005, and r = 0.30, p = 0.004, respectively) and "Effects of Kidney Disease" (r = 0.27, p = 0.008, and r = 0.24, p = 0.03, respectively).

Conclusion: QoL improved in KTRs in kidney disease-specific domains compared to patients initiating dialysis or those without RRT. Plasma albumin and lipids were associated with QoL over time.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Kidney transplantation; Quality of life; Renal replacement therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / therapy
  • Serum Albumin


  • Serum Albumin