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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The impact of nocturnal hemodialysis on sexual function

Adam Bass1*, Sofia B Ahmed12, Scott Klarenbach3, Bruce Culleton1, Brenda R Hemmelgarn124 and Braden Manns1245*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

2 Libin Cardiovascular Institute, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

3 Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

4 Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

5 Foothills Medical Center, 1403-29th Street NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 2 T9, Canada

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BMC Nephrology 2012, 13:67  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-13-67

Published: 26 July 2012

Abstract

Background

Sexual dysfunction is common in patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) and treatment options are limited. Observational studies suggest that nocturnal hemodialysis may improve sexual function. We compared sexual activity and responses to sexual related questions in the Kidney Disease Quality of Life Short Form questionnaire among patients randomized to frequent nocturnal or thrice weekly conventional hemodialysis.

Methods

We performed a secondary analysis of data from an RCT which enrolled 51 patients comparing frequent nocturnal and conventional thrice weekly hemodialysis. Sexual activity and responses to sexual related questions were assessed at baseline and six months using relevant questions from the Kidney Disease Quality of Life Short Form questionnaire.

Results

Overall, there was no difference in sexual activity, or the extent to which people were bothered by the impact of kidney disease on their sex life between the two groups between randomization and 6 months. However, women and patients age < 60 who were randomized to frequent nocturnal hemodialysis were less bothered by the impact of kidney disease on their sex life at 6 months, compared with patients allocated to conventional hemodialysis (p = 0.005 and p = 0.024 respectively).

Conclusions

Our results suggest that frequent nocturnal hemodialysis is not associated with an improvement in sexual activity in all patients but might have an effect on the burden of kidney disease on sex life in women and patients less than 60 years of age. The validity of these subgroup findings require confirmation in future RCTs.

Keywords:
Nocturnal hemodialysis; Sex; Sexual function; Frequent hemodialysis