• Health-related quality of life;
  • Renal failure;
  • Hemodialysis;
  • Peritoneal dialysis;
  • Kidney transplantation


Measures of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) have a significant predictive value on patient survival and hospitalizations, especially in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). In this review, some of the major studies performed in patients with different stages of renal failure are presented. The most used instrument for measuring HRQoL is the Short form health survey questionnaire (SF-36). Patients with predialysis CKD had higher SF-36 scores than a large cohort of hemodialysis (HD) or peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients, but lower scores than those reported for the adult population. Kidney transplantation offers better HRQoL than dialysis. Hemoglobin level predicted both physical and mental domain scores of the SF-36. HRQoL of HD and PD patients were compared in only a few studies, mostly because these studies are difficult to interpret. PD patients generally have lower comorbidity scores at the onset of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), independent of other factors influencing modality selection. Comorbid medical conditions are common in patients with ESRD, and are an important contributing factor to clinical outcomes and quality of life. Depression occurs in about 20–30% of dialysis patients. This is important because of the negative impact depression has on quality of life, but also because depression is now established as a factor that can significantly affect morbidity and mortality in ESRD patients. Sexual life satisfaction showed marked deterioration in all age groups. Patients aged over 65 scored significantly better than younger patients on dialysis stress scales, and were generally more satisfied with life. Longitudinal studies are needed to define periods at risk for decline in HRQoL during progression of CKD.