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A study of patients accepted for maintenance dialysis at the Oxford renal unit in 1981 showed that 23 out of 55 patients were referred late, very shortly before the need for dialysis. This pattern of referral was associated with a higher morbidity at the start of dialysis which may have been preventable. In the late referral group 16 patients (70%) suffered major complications and three (13%) died; by contrast, in the early referral group three patients (9%) suffered complications and one died. Early referral to a renal unit plainly benefits the patient and allows Health Service resources to be used more economically.


Journal article


Br Med J (Clin Res Ed)

Publication Date





441 - 443


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Humans, Hypertension, Kidney Failure, Chronic, Middle Aged, Pericarditis, Pulmonary Edema, Referral and Consultation, Renal Dialysis, Time Factors