Lowering postdialysis plasma sodium (conductivity) to increase sodium removal in volume-expanded hemodialysis patients: a pilot study using a biofeedback software system

Am J Kidney Dis. 2010 Jul;56(1):69-76. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2009.12.037. Epub 2010 Mar 19.


Background: Extracellular fluid expansion is common in hemodialysis patients. Aggressive fluid removal may lead to intradialytic complications. High dialysate sodium concentrations may lessen complications, but may increase extracellular volume. We hypothesized that decreasing plasma sodium concentration during dialysis will increase sodium removal and decrease extracellular volume.

Study design: Pilot clinical trial.

Setting & participants: 16 patients with end-stage kidney disease treated using thrice-weekly hemodialysis at a university teaching hospital hemodialysis unit.

Intervention: Stepwise decrease in postdialysis plasma sodium level (calculated as end-of-session plasma conductivity) over 4 phases effected by dialysate conductivity measurement cells and a biofeedback software system (Diacontrol; Hospal, www.hospal.it) that allowed alteration of dialysate inlet conductivity and calculation of plasma conductivity.

Outcomes: Decrease in postdialysis plasma sodium (conductivity) levels, sodium removal, redistribution of body water, and effect of these on interdialytic weight gain and blood pressure.

Measurements: Plasma sodium and conductivity values (the latter measured in millisiemens per centimeter); ionic mass balance (sodium removal); bioelectrical impedance analysis measurements of body-water compartments and phase angle; interdialytic weight gain; and blood pressure.

Results: Plasma sodium concentrations at the end of dialysis were decreased from 137.8 (phase 1) to 135.6 mmol/L (phase 4) and end-of-session plasma conductivity values were decreased from 14.0 (phase 1) to 13.5 mS/cm (phase 4; all mean values). Ionic mass balance increased from 383 to 480 mmol. Extracellular water was significantly decreased, phase angle was increased, and blood pressure and interdialytic weight gain were decreased. Plasma sodium levels correlated significantly with plasma conductivity; thus, changes in postdialysis plasma sodium levels can be inferred from changes in end-of-session plasma conductivity values.

Limitations: Small number of patients. No information for dietary sodium intake.

Conclusion: To decrease extracellular volume, it may be necessary to add diffusive to convective sodium losses.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / methods*
  • Blood Volume / physiology
  • Dialysis Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Extracellular Fluid / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Renal Dialysis / methods*
  • Sodium / blood*
  • Software*


  • Dialysis Solutions
  • Sodium