Late referral to maintenance dialysis: detrimental consequences

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1993;8(10):1089-93.


Thirty per cent of patients who started maintenance haemodialysis at our institution between January 1989 and December 1991 had been referred at a very late stage of their renal disease. To assess the causes and consequences of such late referral we retrospectively compared clinical and laboratory features of 65 patients who had been referred less than 1 month prior to first dialysis (late referral, or LR group) and of 153 patients who had been previously followed-up by us for more than 6 months (early referral, or ER group). Age, sex ratio, and socioeconomic status were similar in the two groups. In the LR group, 38 patients had never been referred to a nephrology unit, whereas 27 had discontinued nephrological surveillance. Fluid overload, severe hypertension, and/or pulmonary oedema was present in 57% of LR versus 15% of ER patients (P < 0.001). Mean (+/- 1 SD) systolic and diastolic blood pressure was greater in the LR than the ER group (173 +/- 19/99 +/- 12 versus 147 +/- 15/84 +/- 8 mmHg, P < 0.001). Mean plasma concentration of creatinine, urea and phosphate was significantly greater, whereas bicarbonate, calcium, haematocrit and albumin were less in the LR than the ER group. Most (88%) LR patients started dialysis in emergency conditions through central vein catheterization. Total hospital stay lasted 34.5 +/- 16.3 days in LR versus 5.8 +/- 3.0 days in ER patients (P < 0.0001), resulting in an excess cost of 0.2 million French francs per LR patient.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / blood
  • Kidney Diseases / epidemiology
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Time Factors