Prevalence of Chronic Itch and Associated Factors in Haemodialysis Patients: A Representative Cross-sectional Study
Melanie Weiss, Thomas Mettang, Ulrich Tschulena, Jutta Passlick-Deetjen, Elke Weisshaar
Chronic itch is a common symptom in haemodialysis (HD) patients, which is often underestimated. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with chronic itch in HD patients. A total of 860 HD patients from a randomly selected cluster-sample of patients attending dialysis units in Germany were included. The patients’ mean?±?SD age was 67.2?±?13.5 years, 57.2% were male. The point prevalence of chronic itch was 25.2% (95% CI 22.4–28.1), 12-month prevalence was 27.2% (95% CI 24.1–30.3) and lifetime prevalence was 35.2% (95% CI 31.9–38.3). Chronic itch was significantly less prevalent in patients with secondary glomerulonephritis as primary renal disease. A history of dry skin, eczema, and age 70 years were significantly associated with chronic itch. General health status and quality of life were significantly more impaired in subjects with chronic itch. This is the first representative cross-sectional study using a precise definition of chronic itch and using different prevalence estimates of chronic itch in HD patients. It demonstrates that chronic itch is a long-lasting burden significantly impairing patients’ health.