Dementia as a Predictor of Mortality in Dialysis Sufferers

Dementia as a Predictor of Mortality in Dialysis Patients
May 12, 2021 0 Comments


The life expectancy of sufferers who’ve dementia and are initiated on dialysis in the US has not been described within the medical literature. A retrospective cohort examine was carried out of 272,024 Medicare/Medicaid main sufferers within the US Renal Information System who have been began on ESRD remedy between April 1, 1995, and December 31, 1999, and adopted via December 31, 2001. Cox regression was used to calculate adjusted hazard ratios for danger for demise after initiation of dialysis for sufferers whose dementia was recognized earlier than the initiation of dialysis as proven by Medicare claims. The typical time to demise for sufferers with dementia was 1.09 versus 2.7 yr (P < 0.001) with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.87 (95% confidence interval 1.77 to 1.98). The two-yr survival for sufferers with dementia was 24 versus 66% for sufferers with out dementia (P < 0.001 by way of log rank take a look at). Dementia that’s recognized earlier than initiation on dialysis is an impartial danger issue for subsequent demise. Such sufferers needs to be thought-about for time-limited trials of dialysis and cautious dialogue in selecting whether or not to pursue initiation of dialysis or palliative care.

ESRD impacts roughly 300,000 folks in the US. Though hemodialysis can lengthen the lifespan for sufferers with extreme kidney dysfunction, it’s removed from in a position to replicate regular renal perform (1). For the reason that introduction of the Medicare ESRD program, many sufferers who initially have been excluded from participation, comparable to these with irreversible cognitive dysfunction, now are in a position to take part within the ESRD program. Amongst causes of irreversible cognitive dysfunction, dementia particularly is turning into extra broadly recognized in the US. The annual variety of incident instances of Alzheimer’s illness might double between 2000 and 2050; its prevalence might quadruple in the US in the identical interval (2). Regardless of the rising numbers of sufferers with ESRD and dementia, the medical literature has not actually explored the intersection of those two teams of sufferers. Not too long ago, Seliger et al. (3) reported that elevated serum creatinine is related to a better danger for dementia in older adults who reported both good or glorious well being. Many articles have been written on the withdrawal of renal substitute remedy in sufferers with dementia, however these have been primarily based on opinion and quality-of-life points (4–10). Though these are difficult issues that should be confronted, there’s a paucity of medical knowledge on the survival of those sufferers on dialysis that may assist information the dialogue. The aim of this examine was to find out the mortality charges for sufferers with dementia as soon as they’re began on dialysis as in contrast with the remainder of the dialysis inhabitants in the US.

Supplies and Strategies

A nationwide registry (the US Renal Information System [USRDS]) was analyzed in a retrospective cohort examine of the affiliation between a predialysis prognosis of dementia and subsequent survival after initiation of dialysis. The variables included within the USRDS commonplace evaluation information (SAF), in addition to knowledge assortment strategies and validation research, are listed on the USRDS site ( underneath “Researcher’s Information to the USRDS Database,” Part E, “Contents of all the SAF’s” (Customary Evaluation Information), and revealed within the USRDS. The demographics of the dialysis inhabitants have been described beforehand (2002 USRDS report). The examine cohort was all dialysis sufferers who initiated dialysis from April 1, 1995, to December 31, 1999, and had proof of Medicare or Medicaid as main payer at or earlier than the date of initiation of dialysis, which included dates for initiation of dialysis in addition to subsequent demise as reported to the USRDS via a number of mechanisms as specified within the USRDS researcher’s information. These information have been merged with the examine cohort utilizing distinctive affected person identifiers.

Inpatient and outpatient Medicare claims data have been searched by Worldwide Classification of Ailments, Ninth Revision code for the next diagnoses, with dates of coding earlier than the initiation of dialysis: Alzheimer’s illness (331.0x), vascular dementia (290.40x via 290.43x), dementia not in any other case specified (290.0x via 290.43x), and presenile dementia (290.x). These codes are grouped collectively within the time period “dementia” for the rest of the article. For the needs of this examine, a prognosis of dementia was thought-about established by the discovering of 1 declare for inpatient and two codes for outpatient claims for the actual prognosis. All analyses have been carried out utilizing SPSS 13.0 (SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL). Information have been merged and transformed to SPSS information utilizing DBMS/Copy (Conceptual Software program, Houston, TX). Statistical significance was outlined as P < 0.05. Univariate evaluation was carried out with χ2 testing for categorical variables (Fisher actual take a look at for violations of Cochran’s assumptions) and t take a look at (Mann-Whitney for non-normal distributions) for steady variables. Unbiased associations with dementia have been assessed utilizing logistic regression. Variables with P < 0.10 in univariate evaluation for a relationship with dementia, in addition to those who have been thought to have an outlined biologically believable relationship with dementia, have been entered into logistic regression evaluation as covariates. Patterns of lacking values of steady variables have been explored and lacking values have been interpolated utilizing SPSS Lacking Values 7.0 (each regression and expectation-maximization technique). Lacking values of categorical values have been coded as a further class in multivariate evaluation however for parsimony in presentation should not offered in unadjusted evaluation. A sensitivity evaluation was carried out utilizing sufferers with nonmissing values for all variables.

Affected person survival curves have been calculated utilizing the life desk evaluation technique. Time to demise was outlined because the time from the date of dialysis initiation till the date of demise, censored on the date of renal transplantation, loss to follow-up, or the tip of the examine interval, December 31, 2001; all sufferers had a possible of two yr minimal follow-up. Cox regression fashions have been carried out testing associations with dementia with mannequin constructing on the premise of each univariate testing for affiliation with survival and compelled entry of variables that have been proven in earlier analyses of the USRDS to be related to affected person survival. Covariates included have been age by quartiles, physique mass index (BMI) by quartiles, serum albumin by quartiles, diabetes, gender, ethnicity, coronary heart failure, persistent obstructive pulmonary illness, stroke, peripheral vascular illness, serum creatinine, lupus, smoking standing, most cancers, alcohol or drug use, Medicaid as main payer, incapability to ambulate, incapability to switch, and yr of dialysis initiation. For validation functions, a further mannequin was run utilizing renal transplantation as a time-dependent variable. The affiliation of dementia with survival was calculated as a time-dependent variable in Cox regression, with all sufferers with dementia having values of 1 and all different sufferers having values of 0. For functions of comparability with different diagnoses for which sufferers bear dialysis, comparable to a number of myeloma and light-chain illness, this explanation for demise was entered into the mannequin as a predictor variable for demise as properly.

Discontinuation of dialysis additionally was assessed as an final result variable, as a result of sufferers with dementia might develop difficulties in cooperating with the dialysis course of. This variable was lacking for 65% of sufferers within the database. Nonetheless, it is a particular variable that often will not be tracked within the therapy historical past information, and sufferers who didn’t discontinue dialysis could be far much less more likely to have a worth of “no” entered within the database so long as they’re routinely persevering with dialysis. Subsequently, for functions of study, we thought-about all lacking values as 0. In a sensitivity evaluation, we additionally carried out evaluation restricted to sufferers with both sure or no (collapsed from particular person classes of why dialysis was discontinued, as indicated within the variable RXSTOP).


From April 1, 1995, via December 31, 1999, 366,738 sufferers began long-term dialysis. Of those, 272,024 have been documented as having Medicare or Medicaid as main payer on the time of the primary dialysis session. This cohort due to this fact composed the examine inhabitants.

A complete of 1725 sufferers have been recognized as having dementia earlier than the initiation of dialysis. Affected person traits are demonstrated in Desk 1 for sufferers who had a prognosis of dementia versus the remainder of the cohort. The sufferers with dementia have been older, extra more likely to be feminine, and extra more likely to be black. As well as, sufferers with dementia had decrease BMI, albumin, and creatinine and had a better hematocrit. Sufferers with dementia additionally have been extra more likely to have coronary artery illness and congestive coronary heart failure as extra comorbidities. They have been much less more likely to have HIV or to abuse tobacco.

Desk 1.

Components assessed in US long-term dialysis sufferers with Medicare/Medicaid claims for dementia versus these with out dementiaa

Sufferers with dementia (12.4%) have been considerably extra more likely to discontinue dialysis earlier than demise than these with out dementia (7.5%; P < 0.001 by χ2). The identical was not true for sufferers with psychological retardation (9.8 versus 7.5%; P = 0.18).

Logistic regression of things that have been related to dementia yielded important findings. As proven in Desk 2, advancing age was independently related to dementia. The percentages ratio (OR) for the oldest quartile was 19.65 (95% confidence interval [CI] 14.48 to 26.67; P < 0.05), 10.22 for the second oldest (95% CI 7.50 to 13.92; P < 0.05), and a couple of.93 for the third oldest (95% CI 2.09 to 4.12; P < 0.05). The lack to switch (OR 1.65; 95% CI 1.30 to 2.10; P < 0.05) and the shortcoming to ambulate independently (OR 2.04; 95% CI 1.71 to 2.44; P < 0.05) each have been positively correlated with dementia. Coronary heart failure (OR 1.14; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.26; P < 0.05), diabetes (OR 1.17; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.30; P < 0.05), and most cancers (OR 1.28; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.57; P < 0.05) have been the ultimate parameters with a optimistic affiliation with dementia. Larger serum albumin gave the impression to be negatively related to dementia, though these knowledge have been lacking for roughly 30% of the cohort. The OR for the best quartile for albumin was 0.44 (95% CI 0.38 to 0.52; P < 0.05), 0.62 for the following highest quartile (95% CI 0.54 to 0.71; P < 0.05), and 0.77 for the third highest quartile (95% CI 0.68 to 0.86; P < 0.05). Larger quartiles of BMI likewise have been negatively related to an OR of 0.52 for the best quartile (95% CI 0.45 to 0.60; P < 0.05), 0.62 for the following highest (95% CI 0.55 to 0.71; P < 0.05), and 0.74 for the third highest (95% CI 0.66 to 0.84; P < 0.05). Feminine gender (OR 0.87; 95% CI 0.79 to 0.96; P < 0.05) and white race (0.76; 95% CI 0.69 to 0.84; P < 0.05) additionally have been negatively related. Transplantation additionally was much less doubtless in sufferers who had dementia (adjusted OR 0.29; 95% CI 0.15 to 0.55). Discontinuation of dialysis was considerably extra frequent amongst these with dementia (adjusted OR 1.37; 95% CI 1.19 to 1.58). A complete of 73.1% of sufferers had full knowledge for the variables analyzed by way of logistic regression.

Desk 2.

Logistic regression of things related to dementiaa

The typical time to demise for sufferers with psychological retardation was 1.1 versus 2.7 yr for the remainder of the cohort (P < 0.001 by way of log rank take a look at). Univariate Cox regression yielded an adjusted hazard ratio of three.2 for dementia (P < 0.001). Multivariate Cox regression for dementia as a time-dependent variable proven in Desk 3 produced an adjusted hazard ratio for demise of 1.91 (95% CI 1.77 to 1.98; P < 0.001). Outcomes that included renal transplantation into the mannequin weren't considerably completely different. The two-yr survival fee was calculated as a result of this was the shortest follow-up interval that theoretically was doable. The two-yr survival fee for sufferers with dementia was 24 versus 66% for these with out dementia (P < 0.001).

Desk 3.

Cox regression of things related to demisea


Many authors have mentioned the significance of assessing sufferers who’re dialysis candidates for cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment that’s extreme sufficient to preclude dependable compliance is an accepted contraindication to kidney transplantation (11). Amongst dialysis sufferers, nevertheless, so long as the affected person is cooperative sufficient to permit the process, dialysis will not be withheld. This examine was unable to find out whether or not the shortcoming of sufferers with dementia to cooperate immediately with the dialysis course of might have been a cause for the decreased survival of those sufferers after initiation of dialysis. The Renal Physicians Affiliation/American Society of Nephrology Medical Observe Tips on Shared Choice Making within the Acceptable Initiation of and Withdrawal from Dialysis (12) supply a number of helpful suggestions which can be acceptable to sufferers with cognitive dysfunction. Specifically, suggestions 7 (particular affected person teams) and eight (time-limited trials) might apply to these with cognitive dysfunction as recognized on this examine. There isn’t a option to know from our examine design what number of sufferers with dementia weren’t began on dialysis. Nonetheless, dementia actually could possibly be thought-about “terminal sickness from a nonrenal trigger or… a medical situation [that] precludes the technical strategy of dialysis,” for which it might be cheap to think about not initiating or withdrawing from dialysis. Advice 8 opens the opportunity of a time-limited trial for sufferers with an unsure prognosis or these for whom a consensus can’t be reached. It is also unclear whether or not such time-limited trials have been carried out or have been extra frequent for sufferers with dementia, in contrast with sufferers with out this situation. Nonetheless, as a time-dependent variable, the adjusted hazard ratio for demise related to a prognosis of dementia truly was decrease than that for different diagnoses which can be thought-about acceptable indications for initiation of dialysis (13), comparable to a number of myeloma/light-chain illness in Desk 3. Discontinuation of dialysis earlier than demise was considerably extra frequent for sufferers with dementia.

A latest overview estimated that as many as 60% of dialysis sufferers might meet diagnostic standards for cognitive dysfunction (14). The a lot decrease prevalence of dementia in our examine suggests underdiagnosis by coding. In Sweden, coding has been proven to be insensitive (43%) in contrast with chart overview (15). Nonetheless, in the identical examine, the specificity of coding for dementia was 98%. An analogous discovering of low sensitivity however excessive specificity has been reported for the Medical Proof Kind (16). It due to this fact is much less doubtless that sufferers who have been recognized as having dementia in our examine wouldn’t have dementia however doubtless that sufferers who do have dementia wouldn’t be recognized as such. Such misclassification usually would bias findings towards the null, that’s, lack of statistical significance (17). The persistently poor prognosis that’s related to cognitive dysfunction on this examine, even in adjusted evaluation, additionally could also be associated to the follow of coding solely of sufferers with probably the most extreme manifestations of cognitive dysfunction. We can’t exclude the chance that coding for dementia represents a “center floor” of severity, and sufferers with probably the most extreme dementia weren’t initiated on dialysis. This could have much less predictable results on examine findings. This additionally would make comparability with research of dementia within the basic inhabitants troublesome. Nonetheless, the prognosis of dementia carries necessary prognostic data in different populations as properly. One giant, potential examine described a imply survival time of seven.5 yr for sufferers who have been youthful than 75 yr and had obtained a prognosis of Alzheimer’s illness (18). Inhabitants-based experiences have proven a survival time of three.3 yr for prevalent instances of dementia with a imply survival of seven.6 yr after the preliminary prognosis was made (19). Imply survival can’t be in contrast between this examine and different research due to variations in time of follow-up. Nonetheless, it appears that evidently survival for sufferers with dementia after dialysis is decrease than for such sufferers who should not on dialysis, simply as life expectancy for sufferers who’re on dialysis usually is decrease than for comparable cohorts of the overall inhabitants who don’t bear dialysis.

Our knowledge give a brand new significance to assessing dialysis candidates for psychological impairment because of the extraordinarily quick life expectancy of this subpopulation. The explanations for this undoubtedly are multifactorial. On common, sufferers with dementia in our cohort have been hypoalbuminemic and had a decrease BMI than the general inhabitants; each of those have already been related to mortality (20). The subgroup with dementia was additionally older than the cohort usually. These sufferers additionally have been extra more likely to have coronary artery illness and congestive coronary heart failure. With out dependable knowledge on explanation for demise for our examine inhabitants, it’s unclear whether or not that is of any significance to total mortality. Nonetheless, as offered earlier, sufferers with dementia within the basic inhabitants nonetheless have an extended life expectancy than was present in our knowledge. An intensive evaluation of a affected person’s cognitive perform could also be one technique of predicting which sufferers will do poorly on dialysis and can have an effect on how sufferers are recommended about renal substitute remedy. As acknowledged beforehand, put within the context of different severe diseases for which dialysis is obtainable, the adjusted mortality of dementia truly was lower than that discovered on this examine and beforehand reported for a number of myeloma (13).

Our examine has the advantage of utilizing a big cohort of dialysis sufferers. Theoretically, this cohort will not be a pattern that estimates a inhabitants however truly contains your entire dialysis inhabitants in the US. The USRDS collects knowledge in a potential method all through the US.

There clearly are many limitations to our examine. These knowledge have been restricted to sufferers with Medicare or Medicaid insurance coverage due to the strategies of ascertaining Medicare claims. They is probably not consultant of sufferers with different kinds of insurance coverage, notably for these diagnoses. One other potential limitation to our examine is limitation of information reporting. Explanation for demise evaluation and a subgroup evaluation by sort of dementia was tried however was hampered by lacking entries. Though it’s not doable to show, we imagine that dementia almost certainly was underreported and underdiagnosed on this cohort. To protect temporal relationships between prognosis and subsequent survival, we didn’t assess dementia that occurred after the initiation of dialysis; in any case, new-onset (incident) cognitive dysfunction doubtless is much less frequent than prevalent cognitive dysfunction. As beforehand cited, Periera et al. (21) imagine that cognitive dysfunction might exist in as much as 60% of dialysis sufferers. Though this can be an aggressive estimate, our sufferers who had a prognosis of dementia accounted for <1% of the general dialysis inhabitants. This is perhaps believable if these diagnoses symbolize solely the extremes of cognitive dysfunction.

It’s doubtless that social help methods, which aren’t assessed properly by the USRDS, properly could also be associated to the following survival for such sufferers. Due to the rarity of those diagnoses in our examine, evaluation utilizing the USRDS particular research (which have some metrics for social help) was not possible.

Regardless of the constraints as offered right here, our knowledge are the primary evaluation of longevity for sufferers who’ve cognitive dysfunction and are began on dialysis. The elevated danger for mortality on this group of sufferers must be mentioned brazenly to offer actually knowledgeable consent earlier than initiation of renal substitute remedy. Such sufferers needs to be thought-about for the choices offered in medical follow pointers on shared decision-making, notably cautious consideration of whether or not initiation of palliative care actually is the very best resolution for the affected person, and consideration of time-limited trials. Additional exploration as to the causes of decreased survival amongst these weak sufferers is warranted.


  • Revealed on-line forward of print. Publication date accessible at

  • The views expressed on this article are these of the writer and don’t essentially replicate official coverage of the Division of the Military, Division of Protection, or US authorities. It is a US authorities work. There are not any restrictions on its use.

  • Acquired July 14, 2005.
  • Accepted Might 2, 2006.


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