Decreasing incidence of dialysis in older patients in The Netherlands as compared with other European countries: an international perspective

Clin Kidney J. 2023 Mar 14;16(7):1149-1159. doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfad048. eCollection 2023 Jul.


Introduction: After decades of increasing dialysis incidence, we observed a decreasing trend in the Netherlands in the last decade. We compared this trend with trends in other European countries.

Materials and methods: Aggregated data for calendar years 2001-2019 from the Dutch registries of kidney replacement therapy patients and the European Renal Association Registry were used. Dialysis incidence in the Netherlands was compared with that in 11 other European countries/regions using three age groups: 20-64, 65-74, and ≥75 years, taking into account pre-emptive kidney transplantation (PKT) incidence. Time trends were assessed as annual percentage change (APC) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using joinpoint regression analysis.

Results: Between 2001 and 2019 the Dutch dialysis incidence decreased slightly among patients aged 20-64 years (APC -0.9, 95% CI -1.4; -0.5). For patients 65-74 and ≥75 years old, a peak was seen in 2004 and 2009, respectively. Afterwards, the decrease was most marked in patients aged ≥75 years: APC -3.2 (-4.1; -2.3) versus APC -1.8 (-2.2; -1.3) for patients 65-74 years old. PKT incidence increased significantly during the study period but remained limited compared to the observed decrease in dialysis incidence, especially among older patients. Large differences in dialysis incidence were observed among European countries/regions. A decreasing dialysis incidence among older patients was also seen in Austria, Denmark, England/Wales, Finland, Scotland, and Sweden.

Conclusions: The Dutch dialysis incidence decreased most profoundly among older patients. This was also observed in several other European countries/regions. Although PKT incidence increased, it can only explain a minor part of the decrease in dialysis incidence.

Keywords: ageing; conservative care; epidemiology; prevention; transplantation.