New Zealand is the home of Home Haemodialysis and Christchurch the hub. Sending people home to dialyse is not only more convenient for them and more cost effective, but also has been shown to reduce mortality. However, is this reduction in mortality sustained across changes in dialysis medicine over time? This is an important question as Home Haemodialysis is now being considered seriously in many jurisdictions across the world. The question was recently addressed by Dr Mark Marshall and colleagues across New Zealand and Australia in an article which appeared online ahead of print a couple of weeks back in the American Journal of Kidney Disease (see here, sadly behind a paywall).
What they did
Step 1 was to extract data from 1998 to 2012 from the Australia New Zealand Dialysis & Transplant Registry which prospectively collects information for all long term renal replacement therapy patients. This is a very important registry and the study highlights the importance of keeping data in this way.
Step 2 Placed patients into one of three time periods according to when they started their dialysis: 1998-2002, 2003-2007, 2008-2012.
Step 3: Identified the exposure of the patients to one of: Facility lead haemodialysis (facility HD), Home haemodialysis (home HD), or Peritoneal dialysis (PD).
Step 4: Compared rates of death for patients starting in each time period for each of the dialysis modalities after accounting for age, sex, ethnicity, primary kidney disease, and glomerular filtration rate at the start of therapy (ie how well the kidney was functioning).
What they found (with my commentary)
there is demonstrable survival benefit associated with recent era irrespective of the landmark initiation time.
Indeed, it was a 25% lower (adjusted) mortality for those starting dialysis in 2008-2012 compared to the 1998-2002.
Well done kidney docs – they are getting better and keeping people alive.
There is significant effect modification by modality [type of dialysis] (P <0.001), and separate models were developed in each subgroup: there is a 23% corresponding reduction for those on facility HD therapy, a 29% reduction for those on PD therapy, and a 46% reduction for those on home HD therapy
In other words, all things being equal, survival was improved more on home haemodialysis than either of the other types.
I note patients were only around 60 years old on average when they first initiated dialysis, yet 37% died before the end of the study period or could receive a transplant. Folks – do your damnedest to avoid kidney disease – starting with avoiding diabetes.
- Survival has increased during the past 15 years
- Survival of peritoneal dialysis patients has increased more than facility haemodialysis patients
- The relative survival of home haemodialysis patients has improved the most
Has home haemodialysis caused people to survive longer? This study can’t say, because it is an association study not one set out to demonstrate causation. However, it is evidence that supports the continued use and possibly even expansion of home dialysis in New Zealand and Australia.
For further reading, refer to the paper itself:
Marshall, M. R., Polkinghorne, K. R., Kerr, P. G., Agar, J. W. M., Hawley, C. M., & McDonald, S. P. (2015). Temporal Changes in Mortality Risk by Dialysis Modality in the Australian and New Zealand Dialysis Population. American Journal of Kidney Diseases : the Official Journal of the National Kidney Foundation. doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2015.03.014