Kidney Disease

Topic Spotlight


An estimated 37 million people in the United States are affected by chronic kidney disease. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Approximately 33% (1 in 3) of adults with diabetes -- and 1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure -- may have chronic kidney disease. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


PCORI has funded 35 comparative clinical effective research studies that aim to help patients and those who care for them make better-informed decisions about their treatment options for kidney disease. (As of September 2023)

Study Results that Support Better-Informed Decisions

Online Decision Aid Helping Patients with Kidney Disease Make Treatment Decisions, PCORI-Funded DART Study Finds

The PCORI-funded DART Study, which compared two ways to help older adults with advanced CKD and their care partners learn about and decide on a treatment, found that an online decision aid about kidney replacement therapy helped patients improve decision quality and clarify treatment preferences, according to results appearing in Annals of Internal Medicine.

For the study, the research team at Tufts University followed 363 patients aged 70 years and older with advanced CKD across eight research sites. One group received the usual care, which included CKD education from a doctor plus a booklet on CKD treatment, while a second group received the usual care and access to the online interactive decision aid called Decision Aid for Renal Therapy, or DART. Patients in the second group showed that their knowledge about decision making and the treatment preferences significantly improved at three months and at six months, with smaller improvements observed through a period of 18 months.

Evidence for Decisions from PCORI-Funded Studies

Evidence Updates: Treating Depression in Patients with Kidney Failure Receiving Dialysis

More patients with kidney failure undergoing long-term hemodialysis who also had depression reported modest improvements in their depressive symptoms with the drug sertraline than patients receiving cognitive behavioral therapy, PCORI-funded researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. However, patients who opted for the daily medication experienced greater adverse events, such as nausea and dizziness.

A pair of Evidence Updates is now available to help support conversations between patients and/or their caregivers and clinicians about treating depression while receiving maintenance hemodialysis.

View the Evidence Updates

Kidney Disease Study Spotlights