Sunday, 18 August 2013

Number of patients may affect YOUR health

There are many factors affecting your health if you have chronic kidney disease and need dialysis.
Just how busy your kidney specialist is may affect your health!

Dialysis patients receiving treatment from kidney specialists with a higher patient caseload have a greater risk of dying prematurely than those receiving care from specialists with a lower caseload, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The study is the first of its kind to examine the association between nephrologist caseload and mortality risk in a large urban US setting.

It seems logical to me that a specialist who has to see two or three times as many patients than the average must be giving each one less time, and one who sees 66% or 50% of the average can be giving each one more time. Hence it should come as no surprize when this was reported.

But scientists never just assume, they should always check. So a group from University of California Irvine Medical Center investigated whether or not those with a high work load had more than the average risk of patients suffering premature death, and whether those with a lower number of patients lead to a better survival rate.

Among the major findings:
• Nephrologists whose dialysis patients had the best survival had a significantly lower patient caseload than nephrologists whose patients had the worst survival.
• For every additional 50 patients cared for by a nephrologist, patients had a 2% higher risk of dying during the study period.

You can read the abstract online.