Serum creatinine (SCr) had been considered to be an important predictor of mortality in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients at the start of renal replacement therapy (RRT). However, the data were limited about initially extreme azotemia (EA), exclusively defined as blood urea nitrogen (BUN)≥300 mg/dL, SCr≥30 mg/dL, or both. This retrospective study was conducted to clarify the characteristics and outcome in our EA patients. We had 1682 new ESRD patients from July 1988 to December 1996. With frequency match for age, gender, and starting RRT in the same period, 20 EA patients and 60 controls were included. Fifty percent of our EA patients had unknown etiology. The EA patients had significantly lower prevalence of underlying diabetic nephropathy, and comorbid hypertension. All the EA patients had late referral to nephrologists within 4 weeks before the initiation of RRT, and 90% of them had taken Chinese herbals. The EA group had significantly higher BUN, SCr, and iron storage as well as a higher prevalence of severe anemia, hyperkalemia, hypocalcemia, and acidemia. However, the similar prevalence of cardiomegaly and left ventricular hypertrophy as well as the similar early mortality rate and long-term survival were noted. Age over 40 years, comorbid diabetes mellitus, and hypoalbuminemia were independent predictors of poor survival. Our EA patients had different initial presentations from other uremic ones at the start of RRT. However, the short-term and long-term mortality rates were similar. The lower prevalence of underlying diabetic nephropathy and comorbid hypertension among the EA patients might contribute to their fair outcome.
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