Dialysis regret: Prevalence and correlates

Fahad Saeed, Susan A. Ladwig, Ronald M. Epstein, Rebeca D. Monk, Paul R. Duberstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background and objectives Although some patients regret the decision to start dialysis, modifiable factors associated with regret have rarely been studied. We aimed to identify factors associated with patients’ regret to initiate dialysis. Design, setting, participants, & measurements A 41-item questionnaire was administered to adult patients receiving maintenance dialysis in seven dialysis units located in Cleveland, Ohio, and its suburbs. Of the 450 patients asked to participate in the study, 423 agreed and 397 provided data on decisional regret. We used multivariable logistic regression to identify predictors of regret, which was assessed using a single item, “Do you regret your decision to start dialysis?” We report adjusted odd ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for the following candidate predictors: knowledge of CKD, attitudes toward CKD treatment, and preference for end-of-life care. Results Eighty-two of 397 respondents (21%) reported decisional regret. There were no significant demographic correlates of regret. Regret was more common when patients reported choosing dialysis to please doctors or family members (OR, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.27 to 4.31; P<0.001). Patients who reported having a prognostic discussion about life expectancy with their doctors (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.18 to 0.98; P=0.03) and those who had completed a living will (OR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.25 to 0.95; P=0.03) were less likely to report regret with dialysis initiation. Conclusions Dialysis regret was common in this sample. Demographic factors (age, sex, marital status, race, or educational attainment) were not significantly associated with regret, but modifiable care processes were.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-963
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation
  • Epidemiology

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