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Noncardiovascular Deaths Add to Dialysis Patient Mortality

Last Updated: October 27, 2009.

High overall death rates among patients beginning dialysis are not just the result of higher cardiovascular death rates, but of significantly higher noncardiovascular death rates as well, according to a study in the Oct. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- High overall death rates among patients beginning dialysis are not just the result of higher cardiovascular death rates, but of significantly higher noncardiovascular death rates as well, according to a study in the Oct. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dinanda J. de Jager, of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed age-stratified mortality data from the European Dialysis and Transplant Association Registry for 123,407 adults beginning dialysis from 1994 to 2007, including follow-up for a mean of 1.8 years. Cardiovascular and noncardiovascular mortality rates were calculated and compared to the general population.

Among beginning dialysis patients, the researchers attributed 39 percent of deaths to cardiovascular causes and 51 percent were noncardiovascular, while in the general population, 40 percent were cardiovascular and 58 percent were noncardiovascular. Unstandardized cardiovascular and noncardiovascular death rates were 15.4 and 13.8 times higher in dialysis patients than in the general population, respectively. Standardized, the cardiovascular and noncardiovascular death rates were 8.8 and 8.1 times higher, respectively, among dialysis patients than in the general population.

"In summary, the present study shows that cardiovascular and noncardiovascular mortality are equally increased during the first three years of dialysis, compared with the general population. This implies that the importance of noncardiovascular mortality in patients receiving dialysis has generally been underestimated," the authors write.

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