Background: Many reports note that the use of cool dialysate has a protective effect on blood pressure during hemodialysis (HD) treatments. However, formal clinical trials in which dialysate temperature is tailored to the body temperature of appropriately selected hypotension-prone patients are lacking.
Methods: We investigated the effect of thermal control of dialysate on hemodynamic stability in hypotension-prone patients selected from 27 centers in nine European countries. Patients were eligible for the study if they had symptomatic hypotensive episodes in 25% or more of their HD sessions, assessed during a prospective screening phase over 1 month. The study is designed as a randomized crossover trial with two phases and two treatment arms, each phase lasting 4 weeks. We used a device allowing the regulation of thermal balance (Blood Temperature Monitor; Fresenius Medical Care, Bad Homberg, Germany), by which we compared a procedure aimed at preventing any transfer of thermal energy between dialysate and extracorporeal blood (thermoneutral dialysis) with a procedure aimed at keeping body temperature unchanged (isothermic dialysis).
Results: One hundred sixteen HD patients were enrolled, and 95 patients completed the study. During thermoneutral dialysis (energy flow rate: DeltaE = -0.22 +/- 0.29 kJ/kg x h), 6 of 12 treatments (median) were complicated by hypotension, whereas during isothermic dialysis (energy flow rate: DeltaE = -0.90 +/- 0.35 kJ/kg x h), the median decreased to 3 of 12 treatments (P < 0.001). Systolic and diastolic blood pressures and heart rate were more stable during the latter procedure. Isothermic dialysis was well tolerated by patients.
Conclusion: Results show that active control of body temperature can significantly improve intradialytic tolerance in hypotension-prone patients.
Copyright 2002 by the National Kidney Foundation, Inc.