The impact of chronic kidney disease on household income

Does health affect wealth?

Advanced stages of chronic kidney disease may cause considerable financial strain for patients and their families.

To find out whether the severity of chronic kidney disease and side-effects associated with the disease and its treatment were associated with a fall into poverty, Associate Professor Rachael Morton and her colleagues studied people participating in the international Study of Heart and Renal Protection (SHARP), who were followed up for a median of 5 years.

Of the 2914 people with moderate to severe kidney disease, 933 were in poverty at the time of screening and a further 436 (22% of the rest) had moved into poverty by the end of the study. The severity of the disease (but not its side-effects) was a significant predictor of a fall into poverty. People who received kidney transplants were much less likely to fall into poverty. Black ethnicity, low educational attainment, a single adult household, and low income at the start of the study were also linked with a fall into poverty.

"Patients in advanced stages of chronic kidney disease are at an increased risk of falling into financial hardship," the authors concluded. "Kidney transplantation may have a role in reducing the risks of household poverty due to chronic kidney disease."

Professor Morton presented the study at Kidney Week, the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, in San Diego.

She added: 'This study highlights the large proportion of patients with CKD who are in financial hardship, which is not restricted to people living in low- or middle-income countries, but includes those living in relative poverty in high income countries such as Australia. Successful kidney transplantation may benefit not only the individual in terms of their health and quality of life, but also the economic stability of their household.'


9 Nov 2015