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1.  Trends in anemia management in US hemodialysis patients 2004–2010 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:264.
Background
There have been major changes in the management of anemia in US hemodialysis patients in recent years. We sought to determine the influence of clinical trial results, safety regulations, and changes in reimbursement policy on practice.
Methods
We examined indicators of anemia management among incident and prevalent hemodialysis patients from a medium-sized dialysis provider over three time periods: (1) 2004 to 2006 (2) 2007 to 2009, and (3) 2010. Trends across the three time periods were compared using generalized estimating equations.
Results
Prior to 2007, the median proportion of patients with monthly hemoglobin >12 g/dL for patients on dialysis 0 to 3, 4 to 6 and 7 to 18 months, respectively, was 42%, 55% and 46% declined to 41%, 54%, and 40% after 2007, and declined more sharply in 2010 to 34%, 41%, and 30%. Median weekly Epoeitin alpha doses over the same periods were 18,000, 12,400, and 9,100 units before 2007; remained relatively unchanged from 2007 to 2009; and decreased sharply in the patients 3–6 and 6–18 months on dialysis to 10,200 and 7,800 units, respectively in 2010. Iron doses, serum ferritin, and transferrin saturation levels increased over time with more pronounced increases in 2010.
Conclusion
Modest changes in anemia management occurred between 2007 and 2009, followed by more dramatic changes in 2010. Studies are needed to examine the effects of declining erythropoietin use and hemoglobin levels and increasing intravenous iron use on quality of life, transplantation rates, infection rates and survival.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-264
PMCID: PMC3866613  PMID: 24289058
Anemia; Erythropoietin stimulating agents; Hemodialysis
2.  Patterns in blood pressure medication use in US incident dialysis patients over the first 6 months 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:249.
Background
Several observational studies have evaluated the effect of a single exposure window with blood pressure (BP) medications on outcomes in incident dialysis patients, but whether BP medication prescription patterns remain stable or a single exposure window design is adequate to evaluate effect on outcomes is unclear.
Methods
We described patterns of BP medication prescription over 6 months after dialysis initiation in hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients, stratified by cardiovascular comorbidity, diabetes, and other patient characteristics. The cohort included 13,072 adult patients (12,159 hemodialysis, 913 peritoneal dialysis) who initiated dialysis in Dialysis Clinic, Inc., facilities January 1, 2003-June 30, 2008, and remained on the original modality for at least 6 months. We evaluated monthly patterns in BP medication prescription over 6 months and at 12 and 24 months after initiation.
Results
Prescription patterns varied by dialysis modality over the first 6 months; substantial proportions of patients with prescriptions for beta-blockers, renin angiotensin system agents, and dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers in month 6 no longer had prescriptions for these medications by month 24. Prescription of specific medication classes varied by comorbidity, race/ethnicity, and age, but little by sex. The mean number of medications was 2.5 at month 6 in hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis cohorts.
Conclusions
This study evaluates BP medication patterns in both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients over the first 6 months of dialysis. Our findings highlight the challenges of assessing comparative effectiveness of a single BP medication class in dialysis patients. Longitudinal designs should be used to account for changes in BP medication management over time, and designs that incorporate common combinations should be considered.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-249
PMCID: PMC3840675  PMID: 24219348
Blood pressure medication; Dialysis; Medication use patterns
3.  Selecting renal replacement therapies: what do African American and non-African American patients and their families think others should know? A mixed methods study 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:9.
Background
Little is known regarding the types of information African American and non-African American patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and their families need to inform renal replacement therapy (RRT) decisions.
Methods
In 20 structured group interviews, we elicited views of African American and non-African American patients with CKD and their families about factors that should be addressed in educational materials informing patients’ RRT selection decisions. We asked participants to select factors from a list and obtained their open-ended feedback.
Results
Ten groups of patients (5 African American, 5 non-African American; total 68 individuals) and ten groups of family members (5 African American, 5 non-African American; total 62 individuals) participated. Patients and families had a range (none to extensive) of experiences with various RRTs. Patients identified morbidity or mortality, autonomy, treatment delivery, and symptoms as important factors to address. Family members identified similar factors but also cited the effects of RRT decisions on patients’ psychological well-being and finances. Views of African American and non-African American participants were largely similar.
Conclusions
Educational resources addressing the influence of RRT selection on patients’ morbidity and mortality, autonomy, treatment delivery, and symptoms could help patients and their families select RRT options closely aligned with their values. Including information about the influence of RRT selection on patients’ personal relationships and finances could enhance resources’ cultural relevance for African Americans.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-9
PMCID: PMC3565884  PMID: 23317336
Decision-making; Renal replacement therapy; Family members; African American
4.  Comparative effectiveness studies to improve clinical outcomes in end stage renal disease: the DEcIDE patient outcomes in end stage renal disease study 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:167.
Background
Evidence is lacking to inform providers’ and patients’ decisions about many common treatment strategies for patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD).
Methods/design
The DEcIDE Patient Outcomes in ESRD Study is funded by the United States (US) Agency for Health Care Research and Quality to study the comparative effectiveness of: 1) antihypertensive therapies, 2) early versus later initiation of dialysis, and 3) intravenous iron therapies on clinical outcomes in patients with ESRD. Ongoing studies utilize four existing, nationally representative cohorts of patients with ESRD, including (1) the Choices for Healthy Outcomes in Caring for ESRD study (1041 incident dialysis patients recruited from October 1995 to June 1999 with complete outcome ascertainment through 2009), (2) the Dialysis Clinic Inc (45,124 incident dialysis patients initiating and receiving their care from 2003–2010 with complete outcome ascertainment through 2010), (3) the United States Renal Data System (333,308 incident dialysis patients from 2006–2009 with complete outcome ascertainment through 2010), and (4) the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Chronic Kidney Disease Registry (53,399 patients with chronic kidney disease with outcome ascertainment from 2005 through 2009). We ascertain patient reported outcomes (i.e., health-related quality of life), morbidity, and mortality using clinical and administrative data, and data obtained from national death indices. We use advanced statistical methods (e.g., propensity scoring and marginal structural modeling) to account for potential biases of our study designs. All data are de-identified for analyses. The conduct of studies and dissemination of findings are guided by input from Stakeholders in the ESRD community.
Discussion
The DEcIDE Patient Outcomes in ESRD Study will provide needed evidence regarding the effectiveness of common treatments employed for dialysis patients. Carefully planned dissemination strategies to the ESRD community will enhance studies’ impact on clinical care and patients’ outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-13-167
PMCID: PMC3554422  PMID: 23217181
5.  The providing resources to enhance African American patients’ readiness to make decisions about kidney disease (PREPARED) study: protocol of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:135.
Background
Living related kidney transplantation (LRT) is underutilized, particularly among African Americans. The effectiveness of informational and financial interventions to enhance informed decision-making among African Americans with end stage renal disease (ESRD) and improve rates of LRT is unknown.
Methods/design
We report the protocol of the Providing Resources to Enhance African American Patients’ Readiness to Make Decisions about Kidney Disease (PREPARED) Study, a two-phase study utilizing qualitative and quantitative research methods to design and test the effectiveness of informational (focused on shared decision-making) and financial interventions to overcome barriers to pursuit of LRT among African American patients and their families. Study Phase I involved the evidence-based development of informational materials as well as a financial intervention to enhance African American patients’ and families’ proficiency in shared decision-making regarding LRT. In Study Phase 2, we are currently conducting a randomized controlled trial in which patients with new-onset ESRD receive 1) usual dialysis care by their nephrologists, 2) the informational intervention (educational video and handbook), or 3) the informational intervention in addition to the option of participating in a live kidney donor financial assistance program. The primary outcome of the randomized controlled trial will include patients’ self-reported rates of consideration of LRT (including family discussions of LRT, patient-physician discussions of LRT, and identification of a LRT donor).
Discussion
Results from the PREPARED study will provide needed evidence on ways to enhance the decision to pursue LRT among African American patients with ESRD.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01439516
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-13-135
PMCID: PMC3489555  PMID: 23057616
Shared decision-making; Live kidney transplantation; Live kidney donation; Chronic kidney disease; End stage renal disease
6.  Setting an agenda for comparative effectiveness systematic reviews in CKD care 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:74.
Systematic reviews comparing the effectiveness of strategies to prevent, detect, and treat chronic kidney disease are needed to inform patient care. We engaged stakeholders in the chronic kidney disease community to prioritize topics for future comparative effectiveness research systematic reviews. We developed a preliminary list of suggested topics and stakeholders refined and ranked topics based on their importance. Among 46 topics identified, stakeholders nominated 18 as ‘high’ priority. Most pertained to strategies to slow disease progression, including: (a) treat proteinuria, (b) improve access to care, (c) treat hypertension, (d) use health information technology, and (e) implement dietary strategies. Most (15 of 18) topics had been previously studied with two or more randomized controlled trials, indicating feasibility of rigorous systematic reviews. Chronic kidney disease topics rated by stakeholders as ‘high priority’ are varied in scope and may lead to quality systematic reviews impacting practice and policy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-13-74
PMCID: PMC3472164  PMID: 22853705
Chronic kidney disease; Evidence-based practice; Health services research
7.  Timing, causes, predictors and prognosis of switching from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis: a prospective study 
BMC Nephrology  2009;10:3.
Background
The use of peritoneal dialysis (PD) has declined in the United States over the past decade and technique failure is also reportedly higher in PD compared to hemodialysis (HD), but there are little data in the United States addressing the factors and outcomes associated with switching modalities from PD to HD.
Methods
In a prospective cohort study of 262 PD patients enrolled from 28 peritoneal dialysis clinics in 13 U.S. states, we examined potential predictors of switching from PD to HD (including demographics, clinical factors, and laboratory values) and the association of switching with mortality. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to assess relative hazards (RH) of switching and of mortality in PD patients who switched to HD.
Results
Among 262 PD patients, 24.8% switched to HD; with more than 70% switching within the first 2 years. Infectious peritonitis was the leading cause of switching. Patients of black race and with higher body mass index were significantly more likely to switch from PD to HD, RH (95% CI) of 5.01 (1.15–21.8) for black versus white and 1.09 (1.03–1.16) per 1 kg/m2 increase in BMI, respectively. There was no difference in survival between switchers and non-switchers, RH (95% CI) of 0.89 (0.41–1.93).
Conclusion
Switching from PD to HD occurs early and the rate is high, threatening long-term viability of PD programs. Several patient characteristics were associated with the risk of switching. However, there was no survival difference between switchers and non-switchers, reassuring providers and patients that PD technique failure is not necessarily associated with poor prognosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-10-3
PMCID: PMC2649113  PMID: 19200383

Results 1-7 (7)