Quality of life and psychological issues in peritoneal dialysis patients

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Seminars in dialysis








Both peritoneal dialysis (PD) and hemodialysis (HD) patients have diminished quality of life (QOL) scores compared to healthy patients. QOL tends to decline over time, with the perception of the quality of physical health deteriorating more than mental health. However, many patients continue to feel hopeless, anxious, and worry about finances, loss of sexual function, family burden, and loss of independence. Depression is the most widely acknowledged psychosocial factor seen in patients with chronic kidney disease. Major depression occurs in 25% of patients facing impending dialysis. Once on PD, the proportion with major depression sharply declines to approximately 6%. This may be due to adjustment to dialysis, but may also be because depressive symptoms are associated with an increased risk of death. A low QOL score and depression are associated with higher comorbidity, poorer nutritional status, anemia, lower residual renal function, and increased hospitalization rates. Increased depressive scores are independently predictive of an elevated peritonitis risk, perhaps due to inattentiveness, or alternatively from a decrease in immune defenses. Small molecule clearances appear to have little to do with depressive symptoms. Depression is a significant problem in PD and other dialysis patients. There is an interrelationship between psychosocial factors, perception of illness, and clinical outcome that requires further study. Serial and simple measures of both depression and QOL should be obtained routinely in all PD patients. This permits rapid recognition of problems and may enhance patients' education on the importance of depression. Further research on interventions is urgently needed.