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RATIONALE & OBJECTIVE: Anxiety symptoms are common in dialysis patients and have a large impact on quality of life. The association of anxiety symptoms with adverse clinical outcomes in dialysis patients is largely unknown. This study examined the association of anxiety symptoms with hospitalization and mortality in patients receiving maintenance dialysis.
STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.
SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: Maintenance dialysis patients treated at 10 dialysis centers in the Netherlands between 2012 and 2016. EXPOSURES: Time-varying symptoms of anxiety and depression using the Beck Anxiety Inventory and Beck Depression Inventory.
OUTCOMES: All-cause mortality, 1-year hospitalization rate, and hospital length of stay.
ANALYTICAL APPROACH: Cox proportional hazards and Poisson regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical variables. Sensitivity analyses included multiple imputation of missing data and restriction to incident patients only.
RESULTS: 687 patients were included, composed of 433 prevalent and 242 incident dialysis patients. Median follow-up time was 3.1 (IQR, 3.0-3.5) years, during which 172 deaths occurred. 22% of patients had anxiety symptoms and 42% had depressive symptoms. Anxiety symptoms were associated with all-cause mortality and 1-year hospitalization rate and length of stay in all multivariable models. Anxiety symptoms showed a clear dose-response relationship with mortality.
LIMITATIONS: Depression and anxiety often coexist and share symptoms. The observational design of this study limits inferences about causal mechanisms between anxiety and clinical outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: Anxiety symptoms are independently associated with increased risk for mortality and 1-year hospitalization. Anxiety symptoms are a clinically relevant risk factor for morbidity and mortality in dialysis patients and warrant further research on effective treatment.