Systematic review of the effectiveness of home versus hospital or satellite unit haemodialysis for people with end-stage renal failure

Graham Mowatt, Luke David Vale, Alison Murray MacLeod

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Background: Home hemodialysis offers potential advantages over hospital hemodialysis, including the opportunity for more frequent and/or longer dialysis sessions. Expanding home hemodialysis services may help cope with the increasing numbers of people requiring hemodialysis.

Methods: We sought comparative studies or systematic reviews of home versus hospital/satellite unit hemodialysis for people with end-stage renal failure (ESRF). Outcomes included quality of life and survival. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, HealthSTAR, CINAHL, PREMEDLINE, and BIOSIS. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed the quality of the studies included.

Results: Twenty-seven studies of variable quality were included. People on home hemodialysis generally experienced a better quality of life and lived longer than those on hospital hemodialysis. Their partners, however, found home hemodialysis more stressful. Four studies using a Cox proportional hazards model to compare home with hospital hemodialysis reported a lower mortality risk for home hemodialysis. Of two studies using a Cox model to compare home with satellite unit hemodialysis, one reported a similar mortality risk, whereas the other reported a lower mortality risk for home hemodialysis.

Conclusions: Home hemodialysis was generally associated with better outcomes than hospital hemodialysis and (more modestly so) satellite unit hemodialysis, in terms of quality of life, survival, and other measures of effectiveness. People on home hemodialysis, however, are a highly selected group. Home hemodialysis also provides the opportunity for more frequent and/or longer dialysis sessions than would otherwise be possible. It is difficult to disentangle the true effects of home hemodialysis from such influencing factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-268
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • home hemodialysis
  • hospital hemodialysis
  • satellite unit hemodialysis
  • renal replacement therapy
  • end-stage renal failure

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