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ABSTRACT

There has been much attention directed toward the high mortality of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), with much of the focus on cardiovascular disease. However, infectious disease is the second most common cause of death in late-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. Although CKD patients are immunocompromised, some vaccines such as influenza, retain their efficacy and reduce infection rates with a standard immunization schedule. Other vaccines, such as hepatitis B and pneumococcal vaccines, require more frequent and/or higher doses to produce and maintain protective antibody levels. Attention has recently been given to the efficacy of influenza vaccination in ESRD patients in reducing morbidity and mortality. Centers with vaccination protocols have demonstrated reduced infection rates and resultant decreased morbidity and mortality. It could be extrapolated from this that widespread vaccination would reduce the total cost of ESRD patient care, and potentially improve patient well-being. However, vaccination appears to be underutilized in CKD patients, and it is a readily available intervention to improve outcomes.