Thrombosis in end-stage renal disease

Semin Dial. May-Jun 2003;16(3):245-56. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-139x.2003.16048.x.


Although renal failure has classically been associated with a bleeding tendency, thrombotic events are common among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). A variety of thrombosis-favoring hematologic alterations have been demonstrated in these patients. In addition, "nontraditional" risk factors for thrombosis, such as hyperhomocysteinemia, endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, and malnutrition, are present in a significant proportion of chronic dialysis patients. Hemodialysis (HD) vascular access thrombosis, ischemic heart disease, and renal allograft thrombosis are well-recognized complications in these patients. Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are viewed as rare in chronic dialysis patients, but recent studies suggest that this perception should be reconsidered. Several ESRD treatment factors such as recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) administration, dialyzer bioincompatibility, and calcineurin inhibitor administration may have prothrombotic effects. In this article we review the pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of thrombosis in ESRD and evaluate the evidence that chronic renal failure or its management predisposes to thrombotic events.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / physiopathology
  • Arteriovenous Shunt, Surgical
  • Blood Platelets / physiology
  • Coronary Thrombosis / etiology
  • Endothelium / physiopathology
  • Erythropoietin / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Thrombocytopenia / etiology
  • Thrombosis / etiology*
  • Thrombosis / physiopathology
  • Venous Thrombosis / prevention & control


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin