Background: Although the mortality rate in patients on hemodialysis remains extremely high, detailed information on causes of death over long-term periods is limited. The aim of this study was to clarify the underlying causes of death in patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis in Japan. Methods: This was a 10-year, multicenter, observational study of 3528 outpatients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis in Japan. Clinical outcomes were analyzed and causes of death were classified into six broad categories including cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, malignant neoplasms, cachexia, trauma/accidents, and other diseases, and more detailed subcategories. Results: During the 10-year follow-up period, 1748 (49.5%) patients died. The most frequent causes of death were cardiovascular diseases (36.1%), followed by infectious diseases (25.8%) and malignant neoplasms (13.5%). In a detailed classification, sudden death, pulmonary infection, and lung cancer were the most common causes of death in cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, and malignant neoplasms, respectively. Conclusion: Our study determined details on causes of death in Japanese hemodialysis patients during the 10-year follow-up period. Cardiovascular disease, especially sudden death is noticeable cause of death among patients on hemodialysis.
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