BACKGROUND: The relationship between periodontitis and outcomes in patients treated with long-term hemodialysis is controversial. Our previous work suggests that periodontitis is associated with malnutrition and inflammation. Here, we hypothesize that periodontitis is associated with mortality in hemodialysis patients.
STUDY DESIGN: Prospective observational study.
SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: 253 patients undergoing hemodialysis at a single hospital-based dialysis facility.
PREDICTOR: Severity of periodontal disease (mild, moderate, or severe based on oral examination of 6 teeth).
OUTCOMES & MEASUREMENTS: All-cause and cardiovascular mortality during a 6-year follow-up after an oral health examination of index teeth.
RESULTS: During the 6-year follow-up, 102 patients died. Death occurred in 70.6%, 41.8%, and 24.0% of patients with severe, moderate, and mild/no periodontitis, respectively. Using mild/no periodontitis as the reference group and adjustment for demographic characteristics, comorbid conditions, and selected laboratory values, HRs for all-cause mortality were 1.39 (95% CI, 0.83-2.34) and 1.83 (95% CI, 1.04-3.24) for moderate and severe periodontitis, respectively. HRs for cardiovascular mortality were not statistically significant.
LIMITATIONS: Single assessment of periodontal disease severity.
CONCLUSIONS: For patients undergoing long-term hemodialysis, periodontitis is associated with increased risk of death. Clinical trials are required to determine whether treatment of periodontitis decreases mortality.