Personalizing treatment in end-stage kidney disease: deciding between hemodiafiltration and hemodialysis based on individualized treatment effect prediction

van Kruijsdijk RCM, Vernooij RWM, Bots ML, Peters SAE, Dorresteijn JAN, Visseren FLJ, Blankestijn PJ, Debray TPA, the HDF Pooling Project investigators

Background: Previous studies suggest that hemodiafiltration reduces mortality compared to hemodialysis in patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), but controversy surrounding its benefits remain and it is unclear to what extent individual patients benefit from hemodiafiltration. This study aimed to develop and validate a treatment effect prediction model to determine which patients would benefit most from hemodiafiltration compared to hemodialysis in terms of all-cause mortality.

Methods: Individual participant data from four randomized controlled trials comparing hemodiafiltration with hemodialysis on mortality were used to derive a Royston-Parmar model for prediction of absolute treatment effect of hemodiafiltration based on pre-specified patient and disease characteristics. Validation of the model was performed using internal-external cross validation.

Results: The median predicted survival benefit was 44 (Q1-Q3: 44-46) days for every year of treatment with hemodiafiltration compared to hemodialysis. The median survival benefit with hemodiafiltration ranged from 2 to 48 months. Patients who benefited most from hemodiafiltration were younger, less likely to have diabetes or a cardiovascular history and had higher serum creatinine and albumin levels. Internal-external cross validation showed adequate discrimination and calibration.

Conclusion: Although overall mortality is reduced by hemodiafiltration compared to hemodialysis in ESKD patients, the absolute survival benefit can vary greatly between individuals. Our results indicate that the effects of hemodiafiltration on survival can be predicted using a combination of readily available patient and disease characteristics, which could guide shared decision-making.