Enhanced Version of Quality Of Life Survey Discriminates Between Pre-dialysis, Dialysis and Transplant Groups

Nashville, TN (March 26, 2009) — An improved, Internet-based version of the SF-12® Health Survey, the SF-12v2®, is a reliable and valid measure of physical and mental health for people with kidney disease. Findings support its use for monitoring the health of the chronic kidney disease (CKD) population across stages and during treatment of kidney failure.  Details of the SF-12v2 are being presented at the National Kidney Foundation's Spring Clinical Meetings held here.

"For the first time, dialysis centers are required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to regularly measure health status from the patient point of view using standardized health-related quality-of-life surveys," said co-investigator Dr. Renee N. Saris-Baglama, from QualityMetric Incorporated in Lincoln, Rhode Island. "In addition to monitoring changes in health-related quality of life over time, these surveys have been shown to predict clinical outcomes such as morbidity and mortality."

Improvements to the original SF-12 Health Survey include increased range and precision, as well as improved item wording and simplified response options, the researcher explained. The SF-12v2 uses norm-based scoring and offers an eight scale health profile (Physical Functioning, Role Physical, Bodily Pain, General Health, Vitality, Social Functioning, Role Emotional, Mental Health) in addition to the Physical and Mental component scores that are offered by the original SF-12 Health Survey.

"This may be particularly useful to practitioners seeking to understand the specific areas in which patient health is most compromised," Dr. Saris-Baglama noted.

Her group tested the updated survey among 463 patients with CKD stages 3-5, 392 patients receiving dialysis and 313 kidney transplant recipients, in collaboration with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and Tufts Medical Center. Participants were recruited through the NKF's Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP), Patient & Family Council, and People Like Us Patient Advocates group via mail and listservs.Visitors to NKF's website www.kidney.org were provided a brief study description and linked to QualityMetric's www.amIhealthy.com website where they read a consent form and indicated their willingness to participate, prior to the launching of the survey.

Survey findings indicate that the SF-12v2 distinguished among the three groups of patients. Transplant recipients reported higher mean scores for physical and mental health than patients with stages 3-5 CKD, and patients on dialysis.

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing and treating kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing availability of all organs for transplantation.

For more information about chronic kidney disease and dialysis contact the National Kidney Foundation at www.kidney.org