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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Revisiting the association between altitude and mortality in dialysis patients.

  • Author(s): Shapiro, Bryan B
  • Streja, Elani
  • Rhee, Connie M
  • Molnar, Miklos Z
  • Kheifets, Leeka
  • Kovesdy, Csaba P
  • Kopple, Joel D
  • Kalantar-Zadeh, Kamyar
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License

It was recently reported that residential altitude is inversely associated with all-cause mortality among incident dialysis patients; however, no adjustment was made for key case-mix and laboratory variables. We re-examined this question in a contemporary patient database with comprehensive clinical and laboratory data. In a contemporary 8-year cohort of 144,892 maintenance dialysis patients from a large dialysis organization, we examined the relationship between residential altitude and all-cause mortality. Using data from the US Geological Survey, the average residential altitudes per approximately 43,000 US zip codes were compiled and linked to the residential zip codes of each patient. Mortality risks for these patients were estimated by Cox proportional hazard ratios. The study population's mean ± standard deviation age was 61 ± 15 years. Forty-five percent of patients were women, and 57% of patients had diabetes. In fully adjusted analysis, those residing in the highest altitude strata (≥ 6000 ft) had a lower all-cause mortality risk in fully adjusted analyses: death hazard ratio: 0.92 (95% confidence interval, 0.86-0.99), as compared with patients in the reference group (<250 ft). Residential altitude is inversely associated in all-cause mortality risk in maintenance dialysis patients notwithstanding the unknown and unmeasured confounders.

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