Achieving an optimal post-hemodialysis hydration status may be difficult because objective criteria for dry weight are lacking. Both relative blood volume changes (DeltaRBV) at the end of hemodialysis and DeltaRBV normalized for ultrafiltration volume (DeltaRBV/UF ratio) have been reported to indicate post-hemodialysis volume status. A parameter for volume status should not be influenced by variations in ultrafiltration volume. However, if the volume that has to be ultrafiltrated to reach dry weight varies as a result of variations in pre-hemodialysis weight, either DeltaRBV or the DeltaRBV/UF ratio (or both) must change. To elucidate the relation between intradialytic ultrafiltration volume versus DeltaRBV and its derivative, the DeltaRBV/UF ratio, we studied the effect of a relatively high (mean+/- SD, 2.7+/- 0.5 l) and low (1.5+/- 0.3 l) intradialytic ultrafiltration volume on these parameters in eight patients. Post-hemodialysis weight was comparable in low and high ultrafiltration volume sessions. The average end-hemodialysis DeltaRBV did not differ between high (-6.7+/- 2.5%) and low ultrafiltration volume sessions (-7.3+/- 1.0%; NS), but the intraindividual variation was considerable. The DeltaRBV/UF ratio differed markedly (p<0.001) between high (-2.4+/- 0.8 %/l) and low (-4.9+/- 1.3 %/l) ultrafiltration volume sessions. In conclusion, the considerable random intraindividual variation of DeltaRBV and the systematic change of the DeltaRBV/UF ratio with variations in intradialytic ultrafiltration volume limit the use of these parameters as an aid to assess hydration status in hemodialysis patients.