The vast majority of kidney failure patients reported that they were doing fine on dialysis and did not see a need for a kidney transplant, according to a new study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The study showed a gap in dialysis patients’ knowledge about the benefits of transplants over dialysis. A kidney transplant doubles a recipient’s life expectancy, improves their quality of life, and reduces their health care costs. Nevertheless, most patients said they did not see a reason for a transplant.
To conduct the study, researchers surveyed 348 patients being treated at 26 Baltimore-area freestanding dialysis centers. They presented patients with 12 potential concerns, asking which ones constituted reasons why they would not pursue a kidney transplant.
More than 68% of the patients told the researchers “I’m doing fine on dialysis.” The older the patient, the more likely they were to report feeling fine on dialysis, with less-educated patients also more likely to report this than their higher-educated counterparts.
Almost a quarter of patients had not seen a nephrologist before starting dialysis, and these patients were almost twice as likely to report that no one had discussed the possibility of a transplant with them.
This study suggests that more education on treatment options could benefit dialysis patients, and researchers stressed that patients with renal failure should see nephrologists to learn about transplants soon after their initial diagnosis.
In a new study, the vast majority of kidney failure patients told researchers they saw no need for a kidney transplant because they were doing fine on dialysis – but the researchers say these patients might not realize how much a transplant could help them.
“Nobody is doing fine on dialysis to the point where a transplant wouldn’t be better for them,” senior author Dr. Dorry Segev told Reuters Health. “Transplantation is the better form of renal replacement.” A kidney transplant doubles a recipient’s life expectancy, said Segev, a transplant surgeon at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.