Background: Sudden death is common in end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Cardiac arrhythmia is observed frequently in patients with ESRD and is thought to be responsible for this high rate of sudden death. This study investigated the prevalence and the predictors of arrhythmia in patients on maintenance dialysis.
Methods: Ninety-four patients on hemodialysis program were enrolled in the study. Routine laboratory results were noted. Arrhythmia, periods of silent ischemia, and heart-rate variability analyses were obtained from 24-hour Holter monitor recordings. Corrected QT (QTc) dispersion was calculated from 12-lead surface EKG. Echocardiographic and tissue Doppler examinations were performed on interdialytic days as well. Ventricular arrhythmia was classified according to Lown classification; classes 3 and above were accepted as complex ventricular arrhythmia (CVA).
Results: The mean age was 52.5+/-13.2 years; 44 (46.8%) were women. Ventricular premature contractions were detected in 80 (85.1%) patients, of whom 35 (37.2%) were classified as complex ventricular arrhythmia (CVA). Coronary artery disease, hypertension, and QTc dispersion appeared as independent factors predictive of CVA development. Atrial premature contractions (APC) were detected in 53 patients (56.4%) and supraventricular arrhythmia in 15 (16%) patients; all were identified as atrial fibrillation. Duration of dialysis therapy was found as an independent predictor of APC.
Conclusion: Arrhythmia is frequently observed in ESRD patients receiving hemodialysis and may be responsible for the high rate of sudden mortality. Hypertension, CAD, and QTc dispersion are independent predictors of CVA, and duration of dialysis therapy is an independent factor affecting APC development in these patients.