Due to high mortality among end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, routine cancer screening—including mammography, colonoscopy, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and Pap smears—in dialysis patients with limited life expectancy, such as those who are not transplant candidates, is not cost effective and does not improve survival. False-positive tests can cause harm: unnecessary procedures, overtreatment, misdiagnosis and increased stress. An individualized approach to cancer screening incorporating patients’ cancer risk factors, expected survival and transplant status is required.
American Society of Nephrology
Five Things Physicans and Patients Should QuestionDownload PDF
Administering ESAs to CKD patients with the goal of normalizing hemoglobin levels has no demonstrated survival or cardiovascular disease benefit, and may be harmful in comparison to a treatment regimen that delays ESA administration or sets relatively conservative targets (9–11 g/dL). ESAs should be prescribed to maintain hemoglobin at the lowest level that both minimizes transfusions and best meets individual patient needs.
The use of NSAIDS, including cyclo-oxygenase type 2 (COX-2) inhibitors, for the pharmacological treatment of musculoskeletal pain can elevate blood pressure, make antihypertensive drugs less effective, cause fluid retention and worsen kidney function in these individuals. Other agents such as acetaminophen, tramadol or short-term use of narcotic analgesics may be safer than and as effective as NSAIDs.
Venous preservation is critical for stage III–V CKD patients. Arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) are the best hemodialysis access, with fewer complications and lower patient mortality, versus grafts or catheters. Excessive venous puncture damages veins, destroying potential AVF sites. PICC lines and subclavian vein puncture can cause venous thrombosis and central vein stenosis. Early nephrology consultation increases AVF use at hemodialysis initiation and may avoid unnecessary PICC lines or central/peripheral vein puncture.
The decision to initiate chronic dialysis should be part of an individualized, shared decision-making process between patients, their families, and their physicians. This process includes eliciting individual patient goals and preferences and providing information on prognosis and expected benefits and harms of dialysis within the context of these goals and preferences. Limited observational data suggest that survival may not differ substantially for older adults with a high burden of comorbidity who initiate chronic dialysis versus those managed conservatively.
The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) represents nearly 14,000 professionals committed to curing kidney disease. The Choosing Wisely campaign reflects ASN’s commitment to the highest quality care for the millions of kidney patients worldwide. ASN provides the most highly regarded education in kidney medicine, supports key kidney research, and advocates daily for policies that improve patients’ lives and equip professionals to help those with kidney disease achieve the highest quality of life.
For more information or questions, please visit www.asn-online.org.
How this list was created: The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) maintains a Quality and Patient Safety (QPS) Task Force that advances ASN’s commitment to providing high-quality care to patients and to raising awareness of patient safety issues for all professionals administering care to kidney patients. Each of ASN’s 10 advisory groups contributes expertise to the task force to ensure it addresses all areas of nephrology practice, and the society’s president, public policy board and council also provide insights. The QPS task force centered its focus on five items most likely to positively impact and influence optimal patient care. The final list of five items was unanimously approved by the ASN public policy board and council. ASN’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.asn-online.org.
- Choosing pain relievers with kidney disease/heart problems
- Chronic kidney disease: Making hard choices
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