Drug therapy for hypertension in hemodialysis patients

Semin Dial. Jul-Aug 2004;17(4):288-94. doi: 10.1111/j.0894-0959.2004.17329.x.


The majority of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients are hypertensive. Drug therapy for hypertension in hemodialysis (HD) patients includes all classes of antihypertensive drugs, with the sole exception of diuretics. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers may decrease morbidity and mortality by reducing the mean arterial pressure (MAP), aortic pulse wave velocity, and aortic systolic pressure augmentation, as well as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and probably reduction of C-reactive protein (CRP) and oxidant stress. Potential risk factors include hyperkalemia, anaphylactoid reaction with AN69 membranes (particularly ACE inhibitors), and aggravation of renal anemia. beta-blockers decrease not only mortality, blood pressure (BP), and ventricular arrhythmias, but also improve left ventricular function in ESRD patients. Nonselective beta-blockers can cause an increase in serum potassium (particularly during fasting or exercise). Lisinopril and atenolol have a predominant renal excretion and therefore a prolonged half life in ESRD patients. Thus thrice-weekly supervised administration of these drugs after HD can enhance BP control. The use of calcium channel blockers is also associated with lower total and cardiovascular-specific mortality in HD patients. Minoxidil is a very potent vasodilator that is generally reserved for dialysis patients with severe hypertension. Hypertensive dialysis patients who are noncompliant with their medications may benefit from transdermal clonidine therapy once a week. The majority of dialysis patients need a combination of several antihypertensive drugs for adequate BP control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Angiotensin II
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Renal Dialysis*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Angiotensin II