Background: The proportion of elderly patients beginning to undergo dialysis is increasing globally. Whether early referral (ER) of elderly patients is associated with favorable outcomes remains under debate.We investigated the influence of referral timing on the mortality of elderly patients. Methods: We retrospectively assessed mortality in 820 patients aged ≥70 years with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who initiated hemodialysis at a tertiary university hospital between 2000 and 2010. Mortality data was obtained from the time of dialysis initiation until December 2010. We assigned patients to one of two groups according to the time of their first encounters with nephrologists: ER (≥ 3 months) and late referral (LR; < 3 months). Results: During a mean follow-up period of 25.1 months, the ER group showed a 24% reduced risk of long-term mortality relative to the LR group (HR = 0.760, P = 0.009). Rate of reduction in 90-day mortality for ER patients was 58% (HR = 0.422, P=0.012). However, the statistical significance of the difference in mortality rates between ER and LR group was not observed across age groups after 90 days. Old age, LR, central venous catheter, high white blood cell count and corrected Ca level, and lower levels of albumin, creatinine, hemoglobin, and sodium were significantly associated with increased risk of mortality. Conclusions: Timely referral was also associated with reduced mortality in elderly ESRD patients who initiated hemodialysis. In particular, the initial 90-day mortality reduction in ER patients contributed to mortality differences during the follow-up period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)