Survival of hemodialysis patients in the United States is improved with a greater quantity of dialysis

Am J Kidney Dis. 1994 May;23(5):670-80. doi: 10.1016/s0272-6386(12)70277-9.


The mortality rate for hemodialysis patients in the United States is higher than in other industrialized countries. Some attribute this to insufficient quantities of prescribed and delivered dialysis. A multicenter study in Dallas dialysis centers (Dallas Nephrology Associates) was begun in 1989 to assess the impact of increasing the delivered quantity of dialysis on mortality in subsequent years. Dialysis dose was measured by urea kinetic modeling. Kt/V, reflecting the fractional volume of body water clearance of urea during a dialysis treatment, was purposefully increased from 1.18 starting in 1989 to 1.46 in 1992. Additionally, the dialysis dose measured by the urea reduction ratio, the fractional reduction of blood urea nitrogen concentration caused by a dialysis treatment, increased from 63.0% to 69.6% between 1990 and 1992. Outcome analytical methods included both crude and standardized mortality rates and mortality ratios standardized to large end-stage renal disease databases at the United States Renal Data System and at National Medical Care, Inc. Crude mortality rates at Dallas Nephrology Associates decreased from 22.5% in 1989 to 18.1% in 1992. In comparison, between 1990 and 1992 the urea reduction ration in National Medical Care facilities increased from 57.1% to 62.5%. During that time crude mortality rates decreased from 21.8% to 19.5%. Crude mortality in the United States remained essentially unchanged in the same time period. By 1992, Dallas Nephrology Associates and National Medical Care had standardized mortality ratios of 0.77 and 0.74, respectively, compared with the US dialysis population, indicating almost 30% fewer observed deaths than expected. Monitoring dialysis dose by urea kinetic modeling or urea reduction ratio are equally effective in predicting improvement in patient survival. Improved survival is possible in the US end-stage renal disease program with greater amounts of dialysis. This strategy can save an estimated 8,000 to 16,000 lives per year.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis / methods*
  • Renal Dialysis / trends
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology