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Weisbord SD, Mor MK, Green JA, Sevick MA, Shields AM, Zhao X, Rollman BL, Palevsky PM, Arnold RM, Fine MJ. Comparison of symptom management strategies for pain, erectile dysfunction, and depression in patients receiving chronic hemodialysis: a cluster randomized effectiveness trial. Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN. 2013 Jan 1; 8(1):90-9.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Pain, erectile dysfunction (ED), and depression are common yet frequently untreated in chronic hemodialysis patients. This study compared two management strategies for these symptoms in this patient population. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, and MEASUREMENTS: Pain, ED, and depression were assessed monthly during an observation usual care phase. Patients were then randomized to 12-month participation in either a feedback arm in which these symptoms were assessed monthly, renal providers were informed of patients'' symptoms, and treatment was left treatment at their discretion; or a nurse management arm in which symptoms were assessed monthly and trained nurses were used to evaluate patients and generate and facilitate the implementation of treatment recommendations. RESULTS: Of 288 patients enrolled into observation between January 1, 2009 and March 30, 2010, 220 (76%) were randomized. Compared with the feedback approach, the results (shown as ? symptom score [95% confidence interval]) indicated that nurse management was not associated with improved pain (0.49 [-0.56, 1.54]), ED (0.20 [-0.55, 0.95]), or depression (0.32 [-0.94, 1.58]). Relative to their symptoms during observation, feedback patients experienced small, statistically significant improvements in pain (-0.98 [-1.67, -0.28]), ED (-0.98 [-1.54, -0.41]), and depression (-1.36 [-2.19, -0.54]), whereas nurse management patients experienced small, statistically significant improvements in ED (-0.78 [-1.41, -0.15]) and depression (-1.04 [-2.04, -0.04]). CONCLUSIONS: Compared with informing renal providers of their patients'' pain, ED, and depression and leaving management at their discretion, a nurse-implemented management strategy does not improve these symptoms. Both approaches modestly reduced symptoms relative to usual care.