Differences in initial treatment modality for end-stage renal disease among glomerulonephritis subtypes in the USA

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Kidney transplantation is the preferred treatment for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), while peritoneal dialysis affords certain benefits over hemodialysis. Distributions and determinants of first ESRD treatment modality have not been compared across glomerulonephritis (GN) subtypes.


We identified all adult (18–75 years) patients with ESRD attributed to any of six GN subtypes [focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), IgA nephropathy (IgAN), membranous nephropathy (MN), membranoproliferative GN (MPGN), lupus nephritis (LN) and vasculitis] who were first registered in the US Renal Data System (USRDS) between 1996 and 2011. We used multinomial logistic regression—adjusting for temporal, geographic, demographic, socioeconomic and comorbid factors—to determine odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for transplantation versus hemodialysis, and for peritoneal dialysis versus hemodialysis, comparing other GN subtypes to IgAN.


Among the 75 278 patients studied, patients with comparator GN subtypes were significantly less likely than those with IgAN to receive either transplantation or peritoneal dialysis. After adjusting for potentially confounding covariates, patients with comparator primary GN subtypes (FSGS, MN, MPGN) were at least as likely to receive transplantation [FSGS OR 0.98 (95% CI 0.93–1.15), MN OR 1.19 (95% CI 1.01–1.39), MPGN OR 1.08 (95% CI 0.93–1.26)] or peritoneal dialysis [FSGS OR 1.05 (95% CI 0.98–1.12), MN OR 1.30 (95% CI 1.18–1.43), MPGN OR 0.95 (95% CI 0.85–1.06)] as patients with IgAN. Conversely, patients with the secondary GN subtypes LN and vasculitis remained significantly less likely to receive either modality [transplantation OR 0.49 (95% CI 0.43–0.56) for LN and 0.27 (95% CI 0.22–0.34) for vasculitis, peritoneal dialysis OR 0.76 (95% CI 0.70–0.82) for LN and 0.54 (95% CI 0.48–0.60) for vasculitis].


Significant differences in ESRD treatment practice patterns are apparent among GN subtypes. To ensure equitable care for all patients, regardless of GN subtype, reasons for observed disparities should be elucidated and—if appropriate—eliminated.

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