Fewer women than men are treated with dialysis for end-stage renal disease, according to an analysis from the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study published this week in PLOS Medicine. The results of the study, conducted by Dr. Manfred Hecking and Dr.  Friedrich Port and colleagues from Arbor Research Collaborative for Health in Ann Arbor, Mich., suggest that these findings call for further detailed study for the reasons underlying the sex-specific differences in end-stage renal disease treatment. 

Researchers analyzed a sample of 35,964 DOPPS patients in 12 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.).

The researchers found that in all age groups, more men than women were on hemodialysis (59% versus 41% overall), and men had higher estimated kidney function when they started dialysis. Men on dialysis were younger, less frequently obese, more frequently married and recipients of a kidney transplant, more frequently had coronary artery disease, and less frequently suffered from depression. The researchers said they found large differences between countries.

"It was a surprise that advanced kidney disease tended to be overall slightly more common in women, while dialysis is less common in women than in men," said Port. "The transition to dialysis deserves more detailed study and we hope that the new Chronic Kidney Disease Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (CKDopps) will provide new insights into this puzzle."