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Patients With CKD Face High Symptom Burden at End of Life

Patients with advanced kidney disease face a substantial symptom burden in the last 12 months of life, according to a small study published online February 28 in the Journal of Renal Care.

Ann Bonner, PhD, from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues describe symptoms, quality of life, and supportive care needs in the anticipated 12-month period prior to death in 19 adults with chronic kidney disease, stages 4 or 5.

The researchers found that the most prevalent symptoms differed from the most troublesome symptoms. The median age of the patients was 78 years, and most were male (63%). Of these, 10 were receiving dialysis, and seven died during the study. The median Australian Karnofsky Performance Scale score did not change over time. Quality of life, as measured by the Functional Assessment of Chronic illness Therapy Palliative-14 and the Assessment of Quality of Life 6 Dimensions, remained steady over time. Few supportive care needs were identified.

"Regular assessment of both symptoms and quality of life is warranted particularly if clinical experience indicates that the person is likely to be in their last year of life," the authors wrote. "Integrated supportive care programs could assist with easing symptom burden during this time."

Source: Health Day