Dialysis patients who smoke are less likely to get kidney transplant
Dialysis patients who smoke have a lower life expectancy than non-smokers and are less likely to get a kidney transplant, according to a new study from the University of Limerick.
The findings, which are published in the journal BMC Nephrology, provide compelling evidence that dialysis patients who smoke are likely to die sooner and are less likely to receive a kidney transplant.
"Smoking remains a major modifiable risk factor for adverse outcomes for men and women on dialysis. It shortens their lifespans and reduces their overall chances of kidney transplantation," said Professor Austin Stack MD, senior author of the study who is a consultant nephrologist and director of the Health Research Institute at the University of Limerick.
"Dialysis patients have extremely high premature death rates that are between 10- and 100-fold higher than in the general population, and smoking contributes substantially to lower patient survival," Prof Stack said.
The study followed 1.22 million dialysis patients in the US over a two-year period who began their treatment between 1995 and 2010.
It concluded that smokers "were between 26 per cent and 50 per cent less likely to receive a kidney transplant taking all other factors into consideration".
Research found that it's true for men and women of all ages but the risks of dying sooner are especially high for younger patients.
“Our study, one of the largest ever conducted, found that smokers have alarmingly high rates of premature death. Quite strikingly, the risks of death were far greater in younger men and younger women than in older patients," Prof Stack said.
He said it was “equally concerning” that dialysis patients who smoke experienced lower rates of kidney transplantation and thus the change to extend survival.
“These risks were considerable in that smokers were between 26% and 50% less likely to receive a kidney transplant taking all other factors into consideration.
“Smoking is a major risk amplifier for all patients on dialysis” he added.
“Consequently, we believe that kidney specialists and all healthcare providers should engage with their patients to pursue smoking cessation strategies at each and every opportunity.”
Approximately two million people in the world are treated with dialysis every year for failing kidneys and kidney transplantation is the best option for patients as it improves their quality of life.