Over the last decade, the age of dialysis patients has been increasing steadily in several units in Canada. Our main objective was to assess prevalence, co-morbidity and outcome of ESRD patients over 75 years old at the beginning of dialysis treatment in our center. As a group, they were compared to younger dialysis patients treated simultaneously.
In the last 5 years, all cases beginning dialysis in our institution who were above 75 years of age were reviewed, as well as cases aged between 50 and 60 years who started dialysis during the same period. Between January 1996 and December 2000, among a total of 429 new chronic dialysis patients, 67 ESRD patients over 75 years (15.6%) and 66 patients between 50 and 60 years (15.4%) began dialysis treatment. RESULTS--PRIMARY AND SECONDARY: Diabetes was present in 37% of elderly and in 56% of the younger patients. Younger patients had been referred earlier to our nephrologists than the older ones (42 vs. 27%). Elderly were more frequently treated by hemodialysis than peritoneal dialysis (81 vs. 19%) when compared to their younger counterparts (65 vs. 35%). Long-term catheters for hemodialysis were used more often in elderly patients. No renal transplantation were performed in older patients while 7 younger patients received a renal graft. Survival rates after 1 and 3 years were, respectively, 93 and 74% for patients between 50 and 60 years, whereas it decreased to 80 and 45% for those over 75 years (p = 0.002). More than 50% of patients older than 75 years died within 2 years after starting dialysis; their mean survival was 31 months; patients starting dialysis between 50 and 60 years survived on the average 44 months during the study period. According to the multivariate logistic regression model, risk factors for increased mortality in the older group were: number of hospitalization days during the past 3 months (OR 34.8, 95% CI 8.3-145.7, p