Self-reported Physical Function Decline and Mortality in Older Adults Receiving Hemodialysis.
RATIONALE & OBJECTIVE: Timely recognition of functional decline in older adults receiving dialysis will allow clinicians to pursue interventions to prevent further disability and/or lead patient-centered goals of care discussions. Annual change in the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12) physical component score (PCS) could identify patients with functional decline. Our objectives were to assess SF-12 PCS change over a year, risk factors associated with SF-12 PCS change, and the association of SF-12 PCS change with mortality in a survivor cohort of older adults receiving dialysis. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective study. SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: 1,371 adults 65 years or older receiving hemodialysis for 6 or more months who completed SF-12 PCSs 300 or more days apart from 2012 to 2013. EXPOSURES: Serum albumin level; hemodialysis access type; SF-12 PCS change (for mortality analyses). OUTCOMES: SF-12 PCS change and mortality. ANALYTICAL APPROACH: Multivariable-adjusted linear regression model; Cox proportional hazards model. RESULTS: We excluded 24% (n = 801) of our cohort for death before the second SF-12 PCS. Among the 1,371 with sufficient SF-12 PCS data, mean age was 79.9 ± 4.5 years. Average SF-12 PCS change in 1 year was minimal (-0.9 ± 9.6), but 39.3% (n = 539) and 32.2% (n = 442) had clinically relevant SF-12 PCS decline and improvement, respectively. Albumin level and access type were not statistically associated with SF-12 PCS change. SF-12 PCS change was not associated with mortality (adjusted HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.96-1.00). LIMITATIONS: 2 time points to assess SF-12 PCS change; covariate assessment only at baseline; survivor bias. CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort of older adults receiving hemodialysis, nearly one-fourth died, while among survivors, it was more common for SF-12 PCS to decline than improve in a year. Annual SF-12 PCS change was not associated with traditional risk factors for functional impairment or mortality risk. Additional research is needed to identify appropriate measures and frequency of assessment for functional decline.