Conservative management and health-related quality of life in end-stage renal disease: a systematic review

Hung-Bin Tsai, Chia-Ter Chao, Ray-E Chang, Kuan-Yu Hung, COGENT Study Group


Purpose: Few studies have addressed health-related quality of life (QoL) in patients who chose conservative management over dialysis. This systematic review aims to better define the role of conservative management in improving health-related QoL in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Methods: Medline, Cochrane and EMBASE were searched for prospective or retrospective studies published until June 30, 2016, that examined QoL of ESRD patients. The primary outcome was health-related QoL.

Results: Four studies were included (405 patients received dialysis and 332 received conservative management). Two studies that used the Short Form-36 Survey (SF-36) showed that the dialysis group had higher physical component scores, but the conservative management group had similar, or better, mental component scores at the end of intervention. Another study using the SF-36 showed that the physical and mental component scores of the dialysis group did not significantly change after intervention. In the conservative management group, the physical component scores did not change, but the mental component scores increased significantly over time (0.12 ± 0.32, p < 0.05). One study, which used the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-Short Form (KD QoL-SF), found no change after intervention in either physical or mental component scores in the dialysis group; however, the physical component score declined (p = 0.047) and the mental component score increased (p = 0.033) in the conservative management group.

Conclusion: Although there are only a limited number of published articles, ESRD patients who receive conservative management may have improved mental health-related QoL when compared with those who receive dialysis.

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