Purpose: We sought to determine the prevalence of psychiatric illness in hospitalized patients with end-stage renal disease. We also examined the association between end-stage renal disease treatment modality and risk of hospitalization with a diagnosis of a mental disorder, and compared rates of hospitalization with a diagnosis of psychiatric illness in renal failure patients to patients with other chronic medical illnesses.
Subjects and methods: We performed a cohort study of all Medicare-enrolled dialysis patients in 1993. Risk of hospitalization with a diagnosis of a mental disorder among renal failure patients was compared with Medicare patients with diabetes mellitus, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peptic ulcer disease.
Results: Almost 9% of all dialysis patients were hospitalized with a mental disorder. Men, African-Americans, and younger patients were more likely to be hospitalized with a mental disorder. The adjusted risk of hospitalization for peritoneal dialysis patients was lower compared with hemodialysis patients for any mental disorder, depression, and alcohol and drug use. Hospitalization with mental disorders was 1.5 to 3.0 times higher for renal failure patients compared with other chronically ill patients.
Conclusions: Hospitalization with a psychiatric illness is common among the US end-stage renal disease population. Depression, dementia and drug-related disorders were especially common. The coexistence of psychiatric illness in patients with renal failure who require specialized medical regimens represents a challenge to nephrologists in diagnosis and treatment. Disparities between hospitalization rates of psychiatric illnesses among end-stage renal disease patients compared with other chronically ill populations warrant further research.