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Many Kidney Failure Patients Regret Starting Dialysis

THURSDAY, June 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- More than 1 in 5 adults getting dialysis for kidney failure are sorry they started it, a new study finds.

Patients who began treatment to make their doctors or family members happy are least pleased with the decision, researchers reported.

On the other hand, patients who said they'd discussed life expectancy with their doctors and those with a living will were less likely to second-guess their decision.

Having a frank discussion with a kidney specialist to learn how dialysis can affect your life can make a difference in your satisfaction, the authors said.

The study, led by Dr. Fahad Saeed, from the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., and Paul Duberstein, of the Rutgers School of Public Health in New Brunswick, N.J., used survey responses from nearly 400 dialysis patients in the Cleveland area.

Twenty-one percent of the patients said they regretted starting dialysis.

The report was published online June 4 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Saeed recommended three strategies to mitigate regret in patients with kidney failure. "The public should be educated about alternatives to dialysis, such as conservative management or active medical management without dialysis," he said in a journal news release.

In addition, nephrologists should give patients and family members detailed information about life expectancy and quality of life with and without dialysis to help patients and family members decide whether to start the treatment.

Lastly, "patients should talk with their doctors about their life expectancy and complete a living will," Saeed said.

More information

For more on kidney failure, see the American Kidney Fund.

SOURCE: Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, news release, June 4, 2020

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