PowerPoint Slides for: Pre-End-Stage Renal Disease Care and Early Survival among Incident Dialysis Patients in the US Military Health System

Background: Previous reports showed an increased early mortality after chronic dialysis initiation among the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) population. We hypothesized that ESRD patients in the Military Health System (MHS) would have greater access to pre-ESRD care and hence better survival rates during this early high-risk period. Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, using the US Renal Data System database, we identified 1,256,640 patients initiated on chronic dialysis from January 2, 2004 through December 31, 2014, from which a bootstrap sample of 3,984 non-MHS incident dialysis patients were compared with 996 MHS patients. We assessed care by a nephrologist and dietitian, erythropoietin administration, and vascular access use at dialysis initiation as well as all-cause mortality as outcome variables. Results: MHS patients were significantly more likely to have had pre-ESRD nephrology care (adjusted OR [aOR] 2.9; 95% CI 2.3-3.7) and arteriovenous fistula used at dialysis initiation (aOR 2.2; 95% CI 1.7-2.7). Crude mortality rates peaked between the 4th and the 8th week for both cohorts but were reduced among MHS patients. The baseline adjusted Cox model showed significantly lower death rates among MHS vs. non-MHS patients at 6, 9, and 12 months. This survival advantage among MHS patients was attenuated after further adjustment for pre-ESRD nephrology care and dialysis vascular access. Conclusions: MHS patients had improved survival within the first 12 months compared to the general ESRD population, which may be explained in part by differences in pre-ESRD nephrology care and vascular access types.