Study Reveals Alarming Mortality Rates Among Dialysis Patients in India

A recent study has shed light on the grim reality facing patients undergoing dialysis for chronic kidney disease in India. According to the findings published in The Lancet Regional Health, Southeast Asia, nearly three in ten patients undergoing dialysis succumb within a year of starting the treatment regimen, a mortality rate double that documented in high-income countries.

The nationwide assessment, conducted across a network of 193 private dialysis clinics, revealed significant variations in survival rates, with mortality at six months ranging from 83 percent to 97 percent. Shockingly, mortality rates at six months were approximately 32 percent higher in rural clinics compared to urban ones.

While the reasons behind these disparities require further investigation, experts suggest that collaborative quality improvement initiatives and enhanced infrastructure for dialysis services are imperative to address the alarming mortality rates. Despite the increasing access to dialysis in India, the absence of a national benchmark for survival on dialysis underscores the urgent need for research to better understand factors contributing to adverse outcomes.

Dr. Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director at The George Institute for Global Health, emphasized the importance of exploring socio-economic factors that influence mortality rates. The study revealed lower mortality rates among patients with higher education and household incomes, as well as among those who received free dialysis treatment compared to those who had to bear the expenses themselves.

Moreover, the study highlighted global inequities in dialysis outcomes, with a 28 percent mortality rate observed over an average of 10 months into dialysis in India, contrasting starkly with the 14 percent mortality rate over an average of 16 months in high-income countries.

Dr. Jha urged the government to extend coverage to include support for the prevention of kidney disease and improved long-term management of complications associated with dialysis. The disparities in survival rates among different centers and between rural and urban clinics underscore the need for a collaborative approach to improve dialysis services, facilitating the sharing of best practices and fostering a supportive environment for centers facing challenges.

As the study’s findings continue to reverberate, there is a growing recognition of the urgent need to address the underlying factors contributing to the high mortality rates among dialysis patients in India. With concerted efforts and targeted interventions, there remains hope for improving outcomes and ensuring better quality of life for patients battling chronic kidney disease.