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Four Care Standards Prolong Hemodialysis Patients' Lives

Seven percent of those getting highest-quality care die, versus 29 percent without quality care

FRIDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Hemodialysis patients treated according to four quality standards for the care of patients with end-stage renal disease are less likely to die or go to the hospital than those whose care reaches no such standards, researchers report in the Oct. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Michael V. Rocco, M.D., of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues evaluated deaths and hospitalizations involving 15,287 long-term hemodialysis patients. Clinical care targets included threshold levels of serum albumin, hemoglobin and urea, as well as fistula use.

The researchers found that one in five patients died and more than half went to the hospital within a year. Treatment for only seven percent of patients met four quality care standards; care for six percent of patients met no standards.

Seven percent of patients whose care reached four quality standards died, versus 29 percent meeting none. Patients with care meeting no targets were 4.6 times more likely to die than those reaching four targets.

"In patients receiving long-term hemodialysis, meeting multiple clinical measure targets is associated with a decrease in hospitalization and mortality rates," the authors conclude.

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