Undergoing dialysis may not be a physically strenuous activity, but dialysis patients with end stage renal disease experience profound levels of fatigue. While physicians may be aware that fatigue is a debilitating symptom experienced by patients undergoing dialysis, there is only limited information on its prevalence and its association with patient outcomes.
A recent study sheds light on the incidence and effects of fatigue in incident hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients (Jhamb M, et al. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2009; 4:1779–1786). The results show that fatigue is an important—and sometimes overlooked—problem for patients beginning maintenance dialysis, and it may indicate an underlying inflammatory burden and an increased risk of dying.