For patients undergoing maintenance dialysis, hurricane exposure is associated with increased mortality, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Matthew F. Blum, MD, and colleagues examined mortality risk among patients requiring maintenance dialysis who initiated treatment in one of 108 hurricane-afflicted counties to examine the risk for death in the 30 days after hurricane exposure. Data were included for 187,388 patients. Twenty-seven hurricanes and 105,398 deaths were identified in 529,339 person-years of follow-up on dialysis. Overall, 29,849 patients were exposed to one or more hurricanes. After adjustment for demographic and socioeconomic covariates, hurricane exposure was associated with significantly higher mortality (HR, 1.13). When adjusting for seasonality, the association persisted. In a sensitivity analysis, the hurricane associated mortality risk was highest 1 day after hurricane exposure and decreased over time. “Our findings…highlight the need to safeguard this population, especially given the predicted increased hurricane intensity with climate change,” the study authors said in a statement.
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