To verify the association between quality of life and morbidity, mortality and clinical indicators in haemodialysis patients.
While a number of therapies have been reported to increase quality of life in end-stage renal disease, patients report that they remain substantially burdened by limited physical functioning and by dialysis-related symptoms. Indeed, quality of life may be the most critical outcome for those undergoing haemodialysis. Furthermore, quality of life has been associated with clinical indicators, morbidity and survival in haemodialysis patients.
Descriptive cohort study of patients undergoing haemodialysis at the Nephrology Hemodialysis Unit of the Hospital de Clínicas in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Forty haemodialysis patients were followed for 12 months and evaluated for demographics, time on dialysis, diabetes mellitus, clinical indicators (dose of dialysis--Kt/V, haematocrit and serum albumin) and comorbidities. The comorbidities were evaluated with the end-stage renal disease severity index and health-related quality of life with The Medical Outcomes Study 36 (SF-36).
Men present higher health-related quality of life scores in the energy and fatigue component (P = 0.04). Patients treated for over one year at the beginning of follow up and patients with less schooling had better results in General Health Perception (P < 0.05). The health-related quality of life evaluation of patients who later died showed that they already had a worse perception of physical functioning as compared to the survivors (P = 0.05). Patients with diagnosed diabetes perceived their physical functioning more negatively compared with those with other etiologies of end-stage renal disease (P = 0.045). We found a correlation between physical functioning and serum albumin (r = 0.341, P < 0.05) and between physical functioning and haematocrit (r = 0.317, P < 0.05). The end-stage renal disease severity index was more strongly related to physical functioning (r = -0.538, P < 0.001). Comparing the patients' results to the indicators above and below the established targets, we observed a trend to worse health-related quality of life in patients with Kt/V above target. However, in the case of albumin, patients with results above target tended to have better results.
A close relationship was observed between quality of life and morbidity and mortality. Among the clinical indicators, albumin and haematocrit have the greatest influence on quality of life.
Haemodialysis patients experience various problems that may adversely influence their quality of life. Special care must be given to those who have diabetes mellitus, high morbidity scores, low serum albumin and low haematocrits.