Itching is an annoying symptom, which afflicts patients with chronic renal failure. To assess the diffusion of itching in the dialysis population in Italy, we carried out a questionnaire, which was distributed to patients of various Italian dialysis centers. The purpose of this investigation was to bring out all those aspects, which make itching a state of chronic suffering, which daily undermines the quality of life of patients. The questionnaire had 16 questions on the intensity of itching, the timing of appearance, the report to doctors and nurses, and any suggested remedies, in addition to some other concerning age, sex, and dialysis age. The questionnaires were distributed to 153 Dialysis Centers and received 1905 responses. In 46.7% of the answered questionnaires, the patients declared the absence of itching. Instead, 53.3% of the patients interviewed reported having itching with varying degrees of intensity. We used for quantifying the intensity of itching the numerical rating scale (NRS). Among the interviewees, those (20.4%) who reported a greater intensity and severity of the symptom described it as often present always, even at night, so as to heavily condition sleep. Only 32.5% of patients solved the problem by contacting their nephrologist or dialysis nurse, and a lower percentage by contacting the dermatologist or general practitioner.
Keywords: itching in dialysis, survey, VAS scale, remedies for itching