February 28, 2008—More young people in Canada diagnosed with kidney failure are surviving, and one key explanation is an increase in the use of kidney transplantation in young patients. This finding comes from the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s (CIHI) Treatment of End-Stage Organ Failure in Canada, 1996 to 2005,(2007 Annual Report),a new report that includes, for the first time, a special chapter focusing on pediatric patients—those aged 19 and under—diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
While the number of young Canadians newly diagnosed with ESRD remained fairly stable each year from 1981 to 2005 (low of 66, high of 103), survival rates have improved considerably since 1981 primarily due to more kidney transplantation in young patients. The number of young people living with ESRD increased by 169% between 1981 and 2005 (550).
“A diagnosis of kidney failure in early life can have far-reaching, life-long consequences,” says Margaret Keresteci, Manager of Clinical Registries at CIHI. “The good news is that children with kidney failure are living longer, now that transplantation has become the treatment of choice for these patients.”
The vast majority of young patients with kidney failure are living with a kidney transplant, with the number increasing from just over 44% in 1981 to 77% in 2005. Conversely, over this period, the proportion of children treated with dialysis decreased from 56% in 1981 to 22% in 2005. For those treated in the decade between 1991 and 2000, five-year survival rates for young ESRD patients living with a kidney transplant were considerably higher (96%) than for those on dialysis (84%).
“We consider the increase in transplantation, and the corresponding decline in dialysis treatment, a step in the right direction for the quality of life for young kidney patients,” says Dr. M. Clermont, pediatric nephrologist at Montreal's St-Justine Hospital. “Kidney failure itself, coupled with dialysis treatment, can be devastating to children with ESRD and their families, in terms of physical development, quality and longevity of life.” Read the full report which includes stats for other organs.
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