Background. Nearly 170,000 patients were treated by maintenance renal replacement therapy (RRT) in Japan in 1996. The current status of Japanese patients on RRT might, in some way, be suggestive for patients on RRT in other countries. Methods. The Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy conducts a questionnaire survey of virtually every dialysis facility in Japan at the end of each year. Here we present the results of our survey of patients undergoing RRT as of the end of 1996, as well as five-year trends (1992- 1996) in some of the data. Results. The response rate was 99.8%. At the end of 1996, there were 167,192 patients on maintenance RRT in Japan (1,328 persons per million population). The numbers of patients on maintenance RRT continued to increase during the five-year period. The gross mortality rate for that period ranged from 9.4% to 9.7%. Cuprammonium rayon was the most commonly used material (24.0%) for dialyzer membranes, followed by cellulose triacetate (18.7%). Approximately 5.0% of hemodialysis (HD) patients had a prior history of surgical release of carpal tunnel. The longer the years on HD therapy, the greater the proportion of patients with a history of such an operation. The predialysis plasma β2-microglobulin concentration was highest in patients aged 30 to 45 years and declined slightly after the age of 45. There was no significant difference in the HbA1c level between continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis and HD patients, both in whom diabetes was the disease causing renal failure. Moreover, among HD patients with diabetes, there was a clear tendency for the HbA1c level to be higher when the normalized protein catabolic rate was higher. Conclusion. This report summarizes the latest results of the survey on Japanese patients on RRT.
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