Background: the incidence of chronic renal failure rises dramatically with age, which is no longer seen as a contraindication to treatment.
Aim: to characterise Scottish dialysis patients aged 80 years and over at the time of their first treatment and to compare their outcomes with those of patients with other serious illnesses.
Design and methods: retrospective survey of all older patients starting dialysis in Dumfries and Galloway between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 2003, and of all older chronic renal failure patients starting dialysis in Scotland between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 2001. Comparison with 4,565 Scottish Lung Cancer and 14,398 myocardial infarction (MI) patients of similar age.
Results: 213/3,944 Scottish dialysis patients were aged 80 years or over at the time of their first treatment, representing 5.4% of all new patients and 9.2% of all new starts in 2001. Ninety per cent of older patients received haemodialysis as their first mode of renal replacement therapy. The most common diagnosis was chronic renal failure of unknown cause in 41% of cases. Quality of life, measured in a subset of Dumfries patients, suggested similar social functioning and mental health, but poorer physical health than their younger dialysis counterparts. Early mortality was high in all three diagnostic groups. Median survival from 90 days after the start of treatment, registration or hospital admission was 459 days (95% CI, 375, 543) for the older Scottish CRF patients, compared to 141 days (128, 154) for lung cancer and 1242 days (1192, 1292) for MI patients.
Conclusions: dialysis can be an effective treatment modality for at least a proportion of octogenarians with end-stage renal failure.
- renal replacement therapy
- chronic kidney failure
- older people and outcomes
- ELDERLY DIALYSIS PATIENTS