Wight Loss Challenges in Achieving Transplant Eligibility in Patients with Kidney Failure: A Qualitative Study

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Rationale & Objective: Patients with kidney failure need kidney replacement therapy to maximize survival. Kidney transplant is a superior mode of kidney replacement therapy for most individuals with kidney failure. Patients with obesity often are not approved for kidney transplant until they lose sufficient weight, as obesity may complicate the surgical procedure, and the risk of graft loss increases with a higher body mass index. To help potential kidney transplant recipient candidates lose weight, further knowledge of their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes is needed.

Study Design: Qualitative study with semi-structured interviews and an exploratory research design, guided by qualitative content analysis.

Setting & Participants: Patients at a hospital in Denmark required to lose weight to achieve kidney transplant eligibility.

Analytical Approach: From patients' responses, we identified descriptive themes using a phenomenological approach. The factors affecting outcomes were derived reflexively from these themes.

Results: Ten interviews were analyzed. Experiences of obesity and weight-loss attempts were described across 4 themes; (1) restrictions and exhaustion, (2) hope and hopelessness, (3) support and self-discipline, and (4) motivation based on severity. A major motivating factor to achieving weight loss in the studied group of patients was their declining kidney function and the fact that kidney transplant cannot be considered until sufficient weight loss is achieved.

Limitations: Thematic saturation was reached after an unexpectedly low number of participants. The patients were only interviewed once and over the phone.

Conclusions: Patients with obesity who are seeking kidney transplant need additional help with the dietary restrictions brought on by kidney disease. They need assistance bridging between a kidney-friendly diet and a sustainable diet that will ensure weight loss. These patients also express not wanting to feel alone in their weight-loss battle. They are looking for help and support to achieve weight loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100388
JournalKidney Medicine
Issue number3
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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