A protocol for a pilot randomized controlled trial to assess the feasibility and effect of a cognitive behavioral intervention on quality of life for patients on hemodialysis

Shayan Shirazian, Arlene Smaldone, Maya K. Rao, Jeffrey Silberzweig, Alan M. Jacobson, Melissa Fazzari, Katie Weinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Poor health-related quality of life (HrQOL) is highly prevalent in patients on hemodialysis (HD), and is associated with increased hospitalizations and mortality. Cognitive behavioral (CB) techniques have improved HrQOL in HD patients but have not been routinely translated into clinical practice. The investigators present the rationale, study design and protocol of a randomized controlled trial to pilot the feasibility and effect of a translatable, behavioral-education intervention using CB techniques to improve poor HrQOL and self-management in hemodialysis patients. Methods: Forty-eight HD patients will be randomly assigned to either the study intervention which includes 8–12 behavioral-education sessions with incorporated CB techniques delivered over 12 weeks or a control group of dialysis education without incorporated CB techniques. Subjects will be followed for 16 weeks and the primary outcome, change in kidney disease quality of life (KDQOL)-36 scores, will be measured at 0, 8, and 16 weeks. The study will have 85% power to detect an 8-point change in KDQOL-36 scores. At the end of the study, qualitative data will be gathered through end-of-study focus groups, and semi-structured interviews. These data will be used to refine the intervention and help translate it into clinical practice. Discussion: There is promising evidence in support of CB-based interventions to improve HrQOL for patients on HD. Despite this, these interventions have not been routinely incorporated into clinical practice. The proposed intervention has the potential to improve both HrQOL and self-management, while also being easily translatable to other HD units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Depression
  • Hemodialysis
  • Quality of life
  • Self-management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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