A comprehensive assessment of the association of patients’ renal replacement therapy (RRT) modality on their participation in life activities (physical function, travel, recreation, freedom, work) is needed.
Systematic review of peer-reviewed published studies.
Setting & Population
Adults undergoing RRT (hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or transplantation).
Selection Criteria for Studies
We searched PubMed, Cochrane Library, and EMBASE from January 1980 through April 2012 for English-language articles that compared participation in life activities among patients receiving 1) hemodialysis compared with peritoneal dialysis, 2) hemodialysis compared with kidney transplantation, or 3) peritoneal dialysis compared with kidney transplantation.
Reported rates of physical function, travel, recreation, freedom, and work-related activities by RRT modality.
A total of 46 studies (6 prospective cohort, 38 cross-sectional, and 2 pre-post transplantation) provided relevant comparisons of life participation activities among patients treated with hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and kidney transplantation. Studies were conducted from 1985 to 2011 among diverse patient populations in 16 distinct locations. A majority of studies reported greater life participation rates among patients with kidney transplants compared to patients receiving either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. In contrast, a majority of studies reported no differences in outcomes between patients receiving hemodialysis and patients receiving peritoneal dialysis. These results were consistent throughout the study period, across diverse populations, and among the subset of studies that performed appropriate adjustments for potential confounding factors.
Many studies included in the review had significant design weaknesses.
Evidence suggests patients with kidney transplants may experience better rates of life participation compared to patients receiving dialysis, while patients receiving hemodialysis and patients receiving peritoneal dialysis may experience similar rates of life participation. Rigorously performed studies are needed to better inform patients about the association of RRT on these important patient reported outcomes.