Fatal outcomes among patients on maintenance haemodialysis in sub-Saharan Africa: a 10-year audit from the Douala General Hospital in Cameroon

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BMC Nephrology

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Abstract Background End-Stage Renal disease (ESRD) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. We assessed the occurrence, time-trend and determinants of fatal outcomes of haemodialysis-treated ESRD patients over a 10-year period in a major referral hospital in Cameroon. Methods Medical records of ESRD patients who started chronic haemodialysis at the Douala General Hospital between 2002 and 2012 were reviewed. Baseline characteristics and fatal outcomes on dialysis were recorded. Accelerated-failure time and logistic regression models were used to investigate the determinants of death. Results A total of 661 patients with 436 (66 %) being men were included in the study. Mean age at dialysis initiation was 46.3 ± 14.7 years. The median [25 th –75 th percentiles] duration on dialysis was 187 [34–754] days. A total of 297 (44.9 %) deaths were recorded during follow-up with statistical difference over the years (p < 0.0001 for year by year variation) but not in a linear fashion (p = 0.508 for linear trend), similarly in men and women (p = 0.212 for gender*year interaction). The death rate at 12 months of follow-up was 26.8 % (n = 177), with again similar variations across years (p < 0.0001). In all, 34 % of deaths occurred within the first 120 days. Year of study and background nephropathies were the main determinants of mortality, with the combination of diabetes and hypertension conveying a 127 % (95 % CI: 40–267 %) higher risk of mortality, relative to hypertension alone. Conclusion Mortality in dialysis is excessively high in this setting. Because most of these premature deaths are potentially preventable, additional efforts are needed to offset the risk and maximise the benefits from the ongoing investments of the government to defray the cost of haemodialysis. Potential actions include sensitisation of the population and healthcare practitioners, early detection and referral of individuals with CKD; and additional subsidies to support the cost of managing co-morbidities in patients with CKD in general.