Background: Few studies have reported the detailed clinical features of stroke in patients with end-stage renal disease. We examined the frequency of the subtypes, mechanism, and outcome of stroke in patients receiving hemodialysis (HD).
Methods: We studied 151 consecutive patients who developed an acute stroke among the maintenance HD population in our kidney center during 22 years, divided into the initial 17-year (n = 61) and the more recent 5-year (n = 90) groups. For purposes of comparison, we also studied 1,017 stroke patients with normal renal function.
Results: Stroke patients receiving HD were younger (age, 64 +/- 10 versus 67 +/- 13 years; P < 0.02) and more frequently had hypertension (87% versus 43%; P < 0.0001) and diabetes (53% versus 23%; P < 0.0001) compared with stroke patients with normal renal function. In the initial HD group, brain hemorrhage was the major subtype of stroke (52%), whereas in the more recent group, brain infarction (BI) replaced hemorrhage as the leading subtype (68%; P < 0.005). In patients with BI, large-artery atherosclerosis was more prevalent in the more recent group than in the initial HD group (33% versus 12%; P < 0.05). A vertebrobasilar territory infarct was more prevalent for HD patients than for those with normal renal function (48% versus 33%; P < 0.05). BI (especially large-artery atherosclerosis and cardioembolism) occurred more frequently during or less than 30 minutes after the dialysis procedure (34%) than brain hemorrhage (19%; P < 0.05). Receiving HD was an independent indicator for poor functional outcome and mortality after stroke.
Conclusion: In our maintenance HD population, stroke showed several unique characteristics compared with the control population, including a predominance of vertebrobasilar arterial territory infarcts. The dialysis procedure itself seems to be associated more frequently with ischemic rather than hemorrhagic strokes.