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Sociodemographic, Psychologic Health, and Lifestyle Outcomes in Young Adults on Renal Replacement Therapy

Background and objectives

Young adults receiving RRT face additional challenges in life. The effect of established kidney failure on young adulthood is uncertain. We aimed to establish the psychosocial and lifestyle status of young adults receiving RRT.

Design, setting, participants, & measurements

Our study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of 16–30-year olds receiving RRT compared with the general population. We selected randomized, controlled trials; cohort studies; or cross-sectional studies without language restriction and extracted proportions of sociodemographic and lifestyle outcomes or validated psychologic health tests producing quality of life, wellbeing, and self-esteem scores. We undertook random effects meta-analysis.

Results

There were 60 studies with a total of 15,575 participants. Studies were largely single-center cross-sectional studies of those transplanted in childhood. Compared with healthy peers, young adults on RRT had lower quality of life, which was worse for patients on dialysis (seven studies: standardized mean difference, –1.01; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], –1.32 to –0.70) compared with patients with transplants (nine studies: standardized mean difference, –0.42; 95% CI, –0.64 to –0.20). They were more likely to be unemployed (seven studies: relative risk, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.47 to 2.44) and live in the family home (two studies: relative risk, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.40 to 2.43). They were less likely to be married or have a partner (four studies: relative risk, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.95). Higher education (three studies: relative risk, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.73 to 1.51), alcohol abstinence (three studies: relative risk, 1.96; 95% CI, 0.84 to 4.67), and smoking status (two studies: relative risk, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.36 to 1.44) did not differ. Results were limited by high heterogeneity and a small evidence base, biased toward surviving patients.

Conclusions

Established kidney failure is associated with lower quality of life in young people and limited employment, independence, and relationships compared with healthy peers.

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