Background: Disturbances of functional properties of large arteries contribute to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease. However, it is not clear whether haemodialysis per se acutely affects mechanical vessel wall properties or endothelial function.
Methods: Twenty-five chronic haemodialysis patients (mean+/-standard error of the mean (SEM): age 52+/-5 years; time on dialysis 63+/-7 months; blood pressure 132+/-4/72+/-2 mmHg) were studied before and immediately after a haemodialysis (HD) session using a polysulphone dialyser (ultrafiltration 1460+/-54 ml), as well as on the following day. Blood pressure was measured with an automatic sphygmomanometer and applanation tonometry. End-diastolic diameter and distension of the brachial and carotid arteries were measured by Doppler frequency analysis of vessel wall movements in M-mode using a multigate pulsed Doppler system and aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) by an automatic device (Complior). Endothelial function was determined as brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and compared with endothelium-independent nitroglycerine-induced dilation (NMD).
Results: FMD was 7.9+/-1.8% in patients before HD and did not change significantly after HD or in the dialysis-free intervall (6.7+/-2.1 and 7.1+/-2.0%, respectively; NS). The same was true for NMD and PWV (12.6+/-0.8 m/s before HD, 12.8+/-0.8 m/s after HD, and 11.9+/-0.7 m/s on the HD-free day). Carotid distensibility coefficients decreased significantly during HD (from 18.1+/-1.9 x 10(-3)/kPa to 16.7+/-2.2 x 10(-3)/kPa, P<0.05) and increased again on the HD-free day (19.8+/-2.4 x 10(-3)/kPa). However, when corrected for blood pressure by tonometry, isobaric carotid distensibility did not change significantly. Brachial artery distensibility also did not show significant acute changes.
Conclusions: Haemodialysis per se did not have a significant effect on endothelial function or large artery mechanical vessel wall properties in patients on maintenance dialysis therapy.