Mortality at For-Profit Versus Not-For-Profit Hemodialysis Centers: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon

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  • We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess differences in risk-adjusted mortality rates between for-profit (FP) and not-for-profit (NFP) hemodialysis facilities. We searched 10 databases for studies published between January 2001 to December 2019 that compared mortality at private hemodialysis facilities. We included observational studies directly comparing adjusted mortality rates between FP and NFP private hemodialysis providers in any language or country. We excluded evaluations of dialysis facilities that changed their profit status, studies with overlapping data, and studies that failed to adjust for patient age and some measure of clinical severity. Pairs of reviewers independently screened all titles and abstracts and the full text of potentially eligible studies, abstracted data, and assessed risk of bias, resolving disagreement by discussion. We included nine observational studies of hemodialysis facilities representing 1,163,144 patient-years. In pooled random-effects meta-analysis, the odds ratio of mortality in FP relative to NFP facilities was 1.07 (95% CI 1.04–1.11). Patients at FP hemodialysis facilities have 7 percent greater odds of death annually than patients with similar risk profiles at NFP facilities. Approximately 3,800 excess deaths might be averted annually if U.S. FP hemodialysis operators matched NFP mortality rates.


  • Dickman, Samuel
  • Mirza, Reza
  • Kandi, Maryam
  • Incze, Michael A
  • Dodbiba, Lorin
  • Yameen, Raad
  • Agarwal, Arnav
  • Zhang, Ying
  • Kamran, Rakhshan
  • Couban, Rachel
  • Guyatt, Gordon
  • Hanna, Steven

publication date

  • December 15, 2020