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01.12.2016 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Nephrology 1/2016

Differential impact of smoking on mortality and kidney transplantation among adult Men and Women undergoing dialysis

BMC Nephrology > Ausgabe 1/2016
Austin G. Stack, Darya Yermak, David G. Roche, John P. Ferguson, Mohamed Elsayed, Waleed Mohammed, Liam F. Casserly, Stewart R. Walsh, Cornelius J. Cronin
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12882-016-0311-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



The extent to which smoking contributes to adverse outcomes among men and women of all ages undergoing dialysis is uncertain. The objective of this study was to determine the differential impact of smoking on risks of mortality and kidney transplantation by age and by sex at dialysis initiation.


We conducted a population-based cohort of incident U.S dialysis patients (n = 1, 220, 000) from 1995–2010. Age- and sex-specific mortality and kidney transplantation rates were determined for patients with and without a history of cardiovascular disease. Multivariable Cox regression evaluated relative hazard ratios (HR) for death and kidney transplantation at 2 years stratified by atherosclerotic condition, smoking status and age. Analyses were adjusted for demographic characteristics, non-cardiovascular conditions, laboratory variables, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors.


The average age was 62.8 (±15) years old, 54 % were male, and the majority was white. During 2-year follow-up, 40.5 % died and 5.7 % were transplanted. Age- and sex-specific mortality rates were significantly higher while transplantation rates were significantly lower for smokers with atherosclerotic conditions than non-smokers (P < 0.01). The adjusted mortality hazards were significantly higher for smokers with pre-existing coronary disease (HR 1.15, 95 % CI (1.11–1.18), stroke (HR 1.21, 1.16–1.27) and peripheral vascular disease (HR = 1.21, 1.17–1.25) compared to non-smokers without these conditions (HR 1.00, referent group). The magnitude of effect was greatest for younger patients than older patients. Contrastingly, the adjusted risks of kidney transplantation were significantly lower for smokers with coronary disease: (HR 0.60, 0.52–0.69), stroke; (HR 0.47, 0.37–0.60), and peripheral arterial disease (HR 0.55, 0.46–0.66) respectively compared to non-smokers without these conditions.


We provide compelling evidence that smoking is associated with adverse clinical outcomes and reduced lifespans among dialysis patients of all ages and sexes. The adverse impact is greatest for younger men and women.
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