Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a rising medical concern around the world. End-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is the last stage of CKD stages that necessitates renal replacement therapy (RRT), such as hemodialysis (HD), which seems to be the most commonly used type. However, patients on HD still suffer from high mortality and morbidity rates compared to those who receive a kidney transplant. Therefore, we aimed in this study to assess the prevalence of pain among ESKD patients on HD, as well as to explore the factors that were associated with this complaint.
Methods: We conducted a multicenter cross-sectional study in the West Bank, Palestine, between August and November 2018. We used questionnaire-based direct interviews with subjects. After reviewing previous studies in the field, we developed our questionnaire and included items on patients' social, demographic, and clinical characteristics, including dialysis-related data. It also contained the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) to assess different aspects of pain symptoms. A convenience sampling technique was used to collect data.
Results: Of the 300 participants, 66.3 % reported having chronic pain. HD sessions themselves were the most commonly cited cause for pain (21.6 %). The most commonly cited site of pain was the upper and lower limbs (37.3 %). Paracetamol was the most frequently used pharmacotherapy for pain alleviation. Multiple regression analysis showed that BMI (p = 0.018), gender (p = 0.023), and the number of comorbidities (p < 0.001) were independently associated with pain severity score.
Conclusions: Pain is a highly prevalent symptom among HD patients in Palestine. Subpopulations with higher pain severity include females, patients with higher BMI, and those with multiple comorbidities. Healthcare providers should routinely assess pain in HD patients as it is considered a significant concern. This would involve pain assessment and development of a treatment plan to improve clinical outcomes. The nephrology associations should also push for pain management in HD patients as a clinical and research priority to improve pain-related disability.
Keywords: Hemodialysis; Pain; Palestine.