Design and Rationale of Health-Related Quality of Life and Patient-Reported Outcomes Assessment in the Frequent Hemodialysis Network Trials
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BACKGROUND: End-stage renal disease patients experience significant impairments in health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Testing various strategies to improve patient HRQOL in multicenter clinical trials, such as the Frequent Hemodialysis Network (FHN) trials is vitally important. AIMS: The aim of this paper is to describe the design and conduct of HRQOL and patient-reported outcomes (PRO) assessment in the FHN trials. METHODS: In the FHN trials, HRQOL was examined as a multidimensional concept, and the SF-36 RAND Physical Health Composite score was one of the co-primary outcomes. The instruments completed to assess HRQOL included the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form SF-36, Health Utilities Index 3, Sleep Problems Index, Beck Depression Inventory and feeling thermometer. These instruments have been shown to have high reliability, validity and responsiveness to change in the end-stage renal disease population. Additional items evaluating PRO including sexual function, time to recovery after dialysis and patients' self-perceived burden to caregiver were also assessed. All questionnaires were administered by trained interviewers using computer-assisted telephone interviewing to ensure blinding and minimizing selection bias. Interim analysis reveals that these instruments can be used to collect a comprehensive set of HRQOL measures with minimal patient burden. CONCLUSIONS: Accurate measurement of HRQOL and PRO can help us test whether hemodialysis interventions improve the health and well-being of this compromised patient population. We have shown that a comprehensive set of HRQOL measures can be centrally collected through telephone interviews in a blinded fashion, in a way that is well tolerated with minimum respondent burden.
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