BACKGROUND - Incremental achievement of quality indicator goals has been associated with progressive improvement in mortality and hospitalization risk in hemodialysis (HD) patients.
STUDY DESIGN - Descriptive cross-sectional study.
SETTING & PARTICIPANTS - All 33,879 HD patients treated at Fresenius Medical Care North America facilities for >90 days with scorable 36-Item Short Form Health Survey responses from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2006.
PREDICTOR - We hypothesized that achieving up to 5 HD goals before the survey (albumin >or= 4.0 g/dL, hemoglobin of 11-12 g/dL, equilibrated Kt/V >or= 1.2, phosphorus of 3.5-5.5 mg/L, and absence of HD catheter) results in better self-reported quality of life (QoL).
OUTCOMES & MEASUREMENTS - Distributions of Physical and Mental Component Summary (PCS/MCS) scores within and across quality indicator categories determined during the prior 90 days from survey date (compared using analysis of covariance and linear regression models, with adjustment for case-mix and each of the quality indicators).
RESULTS - Incremental achievement of up to 5 goals was associated with progressively higher PCS and MCS scores (both P for trend < 0.001). Compared with patients meeting all 5 goals (n = 4,208; reference group), case-mix-adjusted PCS score was lower by 1.8 point with only 4 goals met (n = 11,785), 3.4 points for 3 goals (n = 10,906), 4.9 points for 2 goals (n = 5,119), 5.9 points for 1 goal (n = 1,592), and 7.8 points in the 269 patients who failed to meet any goal (each P < 0.001 vs the reference group). The corresponding decreases in case-mix-adjusted MCS scores were 1.0 point for 4 goals met, 1.7 point for 3 goals, 2.3 points for 2 goals, 3.0 points for 1 goal, and 4.7 points with no goal met, with each P < 0.001 compared with the MCS score from patients who achieved all 5 goals.
LIMITATIONS - Potential residual confounding from unmeasured covariates.
CONCLUSION - Patients progressively meeting more quality goals report incrementally better QoL. Further studies are needed to determine whether prospective achievement of quality goals will result in improved QoL for HD patients.