Patients with end-stage kidney disease undergoing chronic hemodialysis (HD) present higher mortality rates compared with the general population. Once patients are on HD, the risk of cardiovascular death is approximately 30 times higher than in the general population and remains 10-20 times higher after stratification for age, gender, and the presence of diabetes. About half the deaths of patients on dialysis are attributed to cardiovascular causes including coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, and heart failure. The cardiovascular burden of the HD patient arises from three different sources: risks inherent to the patient and the uremic syndrome, traditional risk factors, and risk factors related to the dialysis therapy. Based on these considerations and the fact that several aspects of the dialysis procedure can either add to the cardiovascular burden or modify the existing burden, new technologies should be directed towards the approach of a potential 'cardioprotective dialysis therapy'; such an approach may be facilitated by the application of new techniques and advanced dialysis machines. Created to make dialysis easy and safe, new machines feature several options that make patient monitoring and online hemodiafiltration therapy routine procedures. These and other features will possibly make dialysis better tolerated and more efficient in protecting patients from undesirable or potentially fatal cardiovascular events.
Copyright 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.