Nursing home dialysis results 'sobering'

Oct. 20, 2009 at 12:43 AM
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STANFORD, Calif., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers link nursing home seniors' dialysis treatment to diminished quality of life.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found in the 12 months after starting dialysis, 58 percent of the patients had died and 13 percent had maintained the functional level they had before starting dialysis.

"The findings are sobering," study leader Dr. Manjula Kurella Tamura of the Stanford University School of Medicine said in a statement. "One of the rationales for starting dialysis in patients with limited life expectancy due to diseases other than kidney failure is that, even if dialysis doesn't extend life, it will improve the quality of life by alleviating symptoms of kidney failure or improving the ability of a patient to care for themselves."

The study looked at functional status in 3,702 nursing home patients identified from national registries as having started dialysis between June 1998 and October 2000.

"There's a huge burden of adverse symptoms and physical disability even among the patients who receive dialysis and these aspects are sometimes easy to overlook," Tamura said.

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