Background: While frequent or occasional symptomatic intradialytic hypotension (IDH) may influence patient well-being, its effects on survival-independent of comorbidities-has not previously been investigated. In this study, therefore, our objective was to assess the effect of frequent IDH (f-IDH) or occasional IDH (o-IDH) on survival.
Methods: During a 10 month run-in period in 1998, 77 patients with f-IDH (> or =10 hypotensive events/10 months, responding only to medical intervention) and 101 patients with o-IDH (1 or 2 events/10 months) were identified among all 958 patients of a dialysis network. Eighty-five patients who had no hypotensive episodes (no-IDH) during this run-in phase served as controls. Patients were followed for a median of 27 months (range: 0.3-37) and survival of patients in the three groups was compared by log-rank test. Independent association of f-IDH and o-IDH with survival, compared with no-IDH, was assessed by a proportional hazards model that included patient demographics, laboratory data and antihypertensive medication as well as comorbidity.
Results: Forty-five patients (58%) with f-IDH, 47 (47%) with o-IDH and 33 (39%) with no-IDH died during the follow-up. Mortality rates (deaths/100 patient years) were 37 (log-rank P = 0.013 vs no-IDH), 26 (log-rank P = 0.375 vs no-IDH) and 21 in the three groups, respectively. This indicates significantly decreased survival in patients with f-IDH as compared to those with no-IDH. In multivariate proportional hazards regression, however, where age, sex, time spent on dialysis, presence of coronary heart disease, diabetes, Kt/V, albumin level and use of beta-blockers, calcium-channel blockers and long-acting nitrates has been adjusted for, neither f-IDH nor o-IDH was associated with survival.
Conclusions: Mortality in patients with f-IDH is significantly higher than in those without such events. After adjustments for covariates, however, there is no independent effect of frequent or occasional episodes of IDH on mortality.