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Dialysis therapy and mortality in older adults with heart failure and advanced chronic kidney disease: A high-dimensional propensity-matched cohort study

Heart failure (HF) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) frequently coexist, and the combination is linked to poor outcomes, but limited data exist to guide optimal management. We evaluated the outcome of dialysis therapy in older patients with HF and advanced CKD. We examined adults aged ≥70 years with HF and eGFR ≤20 ml/min/1.73 m2 between 2008-2012 and no prior renal replacement therapy, cancer, cirrhosis or organ transplant. We identified patients who initiated chronic dialysis through 2013 and matched patients who did not initiate dialysis on age, gender, diabetes status, being alive on dialysis initiation date, and a high-dimensional propensity score for starting dialysis. Deaths were identified through 2013. We used Cox regression to evaluate the association of chronic dialysis and all-cause death. Among 348 adults with HF and advanced CKD who initiated dialysis and 947 matched patients who did not start dialysis, mean age was 80±5 years, 51% were women and 33% were Black. The crude rate of death was high overall but lower in those initiating vs. not initiating chronic dialysis (26.1 vs. 32.1 per 100 person-years, respectively, P = 0.02). In multivariable analysis, dialysis was associated with a 33% (95% Confidence Interval:17-46%) lower adjusted rate of death compared with not initiating dialysis. Among older adults with HF and advanced CKD, dialysis initiation was associated with lower mortality, but absolute rates of death were very high in both groups. Randomized trials should evaluate net outcomes of dialysis vs. conservative management on length and quality of life in this high-risk population.

Authors: Zheng, Sijie; Yang, Jingrong; Tan, Thida C; Belani, Sharina; Law, David; Pravoverov, Leonid V; Kim, Susan S; Go, Alan S

PLoS One. 2022;17(1):e0262706. Epub 2022-01-21.

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