The number of patients diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is increasing annually and will continue to rise as a result of the ageing population. Research exploring the symptom burden in ESRD has shown it to be equal to that of the symptom burden experienced by patients with terminal cancer. Fatigue is one of the most prevalent symptoms experienced by ESRD patients. It is very debilitating. The severity of fatigue in ESRD has been found to be associated with loss of physical function, reduced activity levels, sleep disturbance and depression. Causal mechanisms of ESRD-related fatigue are essentially unknown. However, they are thought to be multidimensional, including sociodemographic, physical and psychological factors. This article provides an overview of ESRD and the associated symptom burden. It then concentrates on the symptom of ESRD-related fatigue and discusses current research in relation to its pathophysiology and the effect that it has on patients. Discussion of the management of fatigue in ESRD is outside the remit of the article. Conflicts of interest: none
- End-of-life care
- End-stage renal disease
- Symptom burden
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