Background: Quality of Life (QOL) in patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is an important measure of dialysis adequacy. Health related QOL is an independent risk factor for mortality in ESRD. The Kidney Disease QOL questionnaire is a highly validated disease targeted instrument with global application. We sought to document QOL and the predictive factors in a cohort of patients with ESRD in Jamaica and Panama.
Methods: Two hundred patients were recruited consecutively from November 2006 – November 2007. Seventy patients were from a tertiary hospital based outpatient dialysis centre, the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), and 40 patients from a private centre, Diabetes Association Renal Unit (DARU) both in Kingston, Jamaica. Ninety patients were consecutively recruited from a tertiary hospital based outpatient dialysis centre in Panama City, Panama. The Kidney Disease Quality of Life – Short Form Questionnaire was administered. Each QOL domain was scored from 0 – 100 with higher scores representing better rating.
Results: Mean age was 50 ± 4 years, with no difference between the cohorts. Panama, however, had significantly higher parameters than the Jamaican cohorts: mean haemoglobin (Hb) 12.4g/dL (p = 0.004), mean serum albumin 45g/dL (p = 0.03) and Urea Reduction Ratio (URR) 78% (p = 0.004). Diabetes Association Renal Unit recorded mean Hb 11.4 ± 1.3g/dL, mean serum albumin 42.1 ± 2.3g/dL and URR 72%. The University Hospital of the West Indies documented mean Hb 11.2 ± 2.4g/dL, mean serum albumin 41 ± 4.5g/dL and URR 68%. All three cohorts had good overall QOL scores when compared with the reference population. Patients from Panama had higher overall QOL scores than Jamaican patients (p = 0.02). By centre, UHWI had higher overall QOL scores than DARU (p = 0.04). Burden of Kidney Disease domain recorded the lowest overall scores (Reference Population 49, DARU 19.0 (p = 0.001), UHWI 24.0 (p = 0.002), Panama 32.9 (p = 0.03). Patient Satisfaction scores were also significantly reduced across all cohorts (Reference population 72, DARU 52, UHWI 54, Panama 58). The University Hospital of the West Indies had significantly decreased dialysis staff encouragement (p = 0.003). The Diabetes Association Renal Unit noted significant reductions in general health (p = 0.04), physical functioning (p = 0.001), physical role (p = 0.001) and emotional role (p = 0.005) domains. Panama had the lowest overall physical functioning (p = 0.01), pain (p = 0.01) and social support (p = 0.04) scores. In the Panamanian cohort, age < 65 years (p = 0.0004). Hb > 11.1 g/dL (p = 0.01), albumin > 40 g/dL (p = 0.01), URR > 65% (p = 0.03), race (p = 0.04), at least high school educational attainment (p = 0.01) and household yearly salaries > US$5000 (p = 0.002) predicted good QOL scores. These accounted for 55% of the variance. In the Jamaican cohort, however, younger age (p = 0.02), race (p = 0.001), higher URR (p = 0.01) and higher serum haemoglobin (p = 0.001) predicted higher QOL scores, accounting for only 40% of the variance. By modality, haemodialysis patients had significantly higher haemoglobin (p = 0.003) and albumin (p = 0.002) levels and ultimately higher overall QOL scores (p = 0.01).
Conclusion: Overall, QOL is good in patients with ESRD. Domains of highest concern include Burden of Kidney Disease and Patient Satisfaction. The role of spirituality, depression and nutritional markers (eg prealbumin) needs to be assessed. Quality of Life must therefore be routinely documented in ESRD patients and targeted interventions implemented.