Association between changes in quality of life and mortality in hemodialysis patients: results from the DOPPS

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Abstract

Background:

Cross-sectional health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) measures are associated with mortality in hemodialysis (HD) patients. The impact of changes in HR-QOL on outcomes remains unclear. We describe the association of prior changes in HR-QOL with subsequent mortality among HD patients.

Methods:

A total of 13 784 patients in the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study had more than one measurement of HR-QOL. The impact of changes between two measurements of the physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component summary scores of the SF-12 on mortality was estimated with Cox regression.

Results:

Mean age was 62 years (standard deviation: 14 years); 59% were male and 32% diabetic. Median time between HR-QOL measurements was 12 months [interquartile range (IQR): 11, 14]. Median initial PCS and MCS scores were 37.5 (IQR: 29.4, 46.2) and 46.4 (IQR: 37.2, 54.9); median changes in PCS and MCS scores were −0.2 (IQR: −5.5, 4.7) and −0.1 (IQR: −6.8, 5.9), respectively. The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for a 5-point decline in HR-QOL score was 1.09 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.06-1.12] for PCS and 1.05 (95% CI: 1.03-1.08) for MCS. Adjusting for the second QOL score, the change was not associated with mortality: HR = 1.01 (95% CI: 0.98-1.05) for delta PCS and 1.01 (95% CI: 0.98-1.03) for delta MCS. Categorizing the first and second scores as predictors, only the second PCS or MCS score was associated with mortality.

Conclusions:

In our study, only the most recent HR-QOL score was associated with mortality. Hence, the predictive power of a measurement of HR-QOL is not affected by changes in HR-QOL prior to that measurement; more frequent HR-QOL measurements are needed to improve the prediction of outcomes in HD. Further studies are needed to determine the optimal frequency and appropriate instrument to be used for serial measurements.

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