Background/aims: Decision-making in elderly patients considering dialysis is highly complex. With the increasing number of elderly with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), it may be important to assess geriatric impairments in this population. The aim of the Geriatric assessment in OLder patients starting Dialysis (GOLD) study was to assess the prevalence of geriatric impairments and frailty in the elderly ESKD population by means of a geriatric assessment (GA), which is a comprehensive tool for overall health assessment.
Methods: This study included 285 patients ≥65 years: 196 patients at the time of dialysis initiation and 89 patients who chose maximal conservative management (MCM). The GA assessed cognition, mood, nutritional status, (instrumental) activities of daily living (ADL), mobility, comorbidity burden, quality of life and overall frailty.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 78 years and 36% were women. Of the incident dialysis patients, 77% started haemodialysis and 23% started peritoneal dialysis. Geriatric impairments were highly prevalent in both dialysis and MCM patients. Most frequently impaired geriatric domains in the dialysis group were functional performance (ADL 29%, instrumental ADL (iADL) 79%), cognition (67%) and comorbidity (41%). According to the GA, 77% in the dialysis group and 88% in the MCM group had 2 or more geriatric impairments. In the MCM group, functional impairment (ADL 45%, iADL 85%) was highly prevalent.
Conclusions: Geriatric impairments are highly prevalent in the elderly ESKD population. Since impairments can be missed when not searched for in regular (pre)dialysis care, the first step of improving nephrologic care is awareness of the extensiveness of geriatric impairment.
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