Background: Congestive heart failure (CHF) is an independent risk factor for mortality in the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) population. Nocturnal haemodialysis (NHD), a novel mode of renal replacement therapy, may be more effective than conventional haemodialysis in reducing intravascular volume or in removing uraemic toxins with vasoconstrictor or myocardial depressant actions, and may, therefore, improve the left ventricular (LV) systolic function of patients with coexisting cardiac and renal failure.
Methods: To test this hypothesis, we determined, in six patients (mean age+/-SD: 49.5+/-9 years), blood pressure (BP), ejection fraction (EF: radionucleotide angiography), left ventricular mass index (LVMI: echocardiography), LV fractional shortening (FS), and extracellular fluid volume (ECFV: bioelectrical impedance): before and after a mean of 3.2+/-2.1 years following conversion from conventional dialysis (3 days/week x 4 h) to NHD (6 nights/week x 8-10 h).
Results: There were significant reductions in systolic and mean arterial BP (138+/-10 to 120+/-9 mmHg, P=0.04; 99+/-6 to 86+/-7 mmHg, P=0.01). There was a significant increase in EF (28+/-12 to 41+/-18%, P=0.01) and a trend to greater LV FS (20+/-10 to 38+/-17%, P=0.06). Post-dialysis ECFV was not affected by dialysis mode (18.5+/-5.1 vs 18.2+/-3.5 l, P=0.76). The number of prescribed cardiovascular medications was reduced (2.2-0.7, P=0.02).
Conclusions: In ESRD patients with systolic dysfunction, NHD leads to a sustained increase of EF and a reduction in the requirement for vasoactive medications in the absence of any reduction in post-dialysis ECFV.