Association of patient-reported difficulty with adherence with achievement of clinical targets among hemodialysis patients

Rachel L. Snyder, Bernard G. Jaar, Janice P. Lea, Laura C. Plantinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Non-adherence to dialysis recommendations is common and associated with poor outcomes. We used data from a cohort of in-center hemodialysis patients to determine whether patients’ reported difficulties with adherence were associated with achievement of clinical targets for treatment recommendations. Patients and Methods: We included 799 in-center patients receiving hemodialysis from February 2010 to October 2016 at Emory Dialysis (Atlanta, GA, USA). Patient-reported difficulty with adherence (yes vs no) across multiple domains (coming to dialysis, completing dialysis sessions, fluid restrictions, diet restrictions, taking medications) was obtained from baseline social worker assessments. Achievement of clinical targets for coming to dialysis (missing ≥3 expected sessions), completing dialysis sessions (shortening >3 sessions by ≥15 min), fluid restrictions (mean interdialytic weight gain ≥3 kg), diet restrictions (mean potassium ≥5.0 mEq/L, mean phosphate >5.5 mg/dL), and taking medications (mean phosphate >5.5 mg/dL) was estimated over the following 12 weeks, using electronic medical record data. Crude agreement was assessed, and multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the associations between these measures. Results: Agreement between reported difficulty in adherence and failure to achieve clinical targets was generally poor across all domains (percent agreement: 52.9–65.3%). After adjustment, patients reporting difficulty with fluid restrictions were 62% more likely to have mean interdialytic weight gain ≥3 kg than those not reporting difficulty (OR: 1.62, 95% CI: 1.08, 2.43). Patients reporting difficulty with coming to dialysis were 41% more likely to miss ≥3 expected dialysis sessions over 12 weeks (OR: 1.41, 95% CI: 0.96, 2.07); however, this association was not statistically significant. There were no significant associations between reported difficulty and failure to achieve clinical targets in other categories. Conclusion: While reported difficulty with only fluid restrictions and coming to dialysis were associated with failure to achieve clinical targets in our study, the general lack of agreement between reported difficulty with adherence and failure to achieve clinical targets highlights a gap that could be explored to develop and target educational interventions aimed at increasing adherence among dialysis patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-259
Number of pages11
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
StatePublished - 2020


  • Dialysis
  • Diet
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Fluid restriction
  • Medications
  • Visit adherence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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