Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Late referral for maintenance dialysis.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 11 February 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:441
  1. P J Ratcliffe,
  2. R E Phillips,
  3. D O Oliver


    A study of patients accepted for maintenance dialysis at the Oxford renal unit in 1981 showed that 23 out of 55 patients were referred late, very shortly before the need for dialysis. This pattern of referral was associated with a higher morbidity at the start of dialysis which may have been preventable. In the late referral group 16 patients (70%) suffered major complications and three (13%) died; by contrast, in the early referral group three patients (9%) suffered complications and one died. Early referral to a renal unit plainly benefits the patient and allows Health Service resources to be used more economically.