Randomized trial of bioelectrical impedance analysis versus clinical criteria for guiding ultrafiltration in hemodialysis patients: effects on blood pressure, hydration status, and arterial stiffness

Int Urol Nephrol. 2012 Apr;44(2):583-91. doi: 10.1007/s11255-011-0022-y. Epub 2011 Jun 19.


Background: Chronic fluid overload is common in maintenance hemodialysis (HD) patients and is associated with severe cardiovascular complications, such as arterial hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmia. Therefore, a crucial target of HD is to achieve the so-called dry weight; however, the best way to assess fluid status and dry weight is still unclear. Dry weight is currently determined in most dialysis units on a clinical basis, and it is commonly defined as the lowest body weight a patient can tolerate without developing intra-dialytic or inter-dialytic hypotension or other symptoms of dehydration. One of the most promising methods that have emerged in recent years is bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), which estimates body composition, including hydration status, by measuring the body's resistance and reactance to electrical current. Our objective was to study the effect BIA-guided versus clinical-guided ultrafiltration on various cardiovascular disease risk factors and markers in HD patients.

Materials and methods: We included 135 HD patients from a single center in a prospective study, aiming to compare the long-term (12 months) effect of BIA-based versus clinical-based assessment of dry weight on blood pressure (BP), pulse wave velocity (PWV), and serum N-terminal fragment of B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP). The body composition was measured using the portable whole-body multifrequency BIA device, Body Composition Monitor-BCM(®) (Fresenius Medical Care, Bad Homburg, Germany).

Results: In the "clinical" group there were no changes in BP, body mass index (BMI), and body fluids. The PWV increased from 7.9 ± 2.5 to 9.2 ± 3.6 m/s (P = 0.002), whereas serum NT-proBNP decreased from 5,238 to 3,883 pg/ml (P = 0.05). In the "BIA" group, BMI and body volumes also did not change; however, there was a significant decrease in both systolic BP, from 144.6 ± 14.7 to 135.3 ± 17.8 mmHg (P < 0.001), and diastolic BP, from 79.5 ± 9.7 to 73.2 ± 11.1 mmHg (P < 0.001). In this group, PWV also decreased from 8.2 ± 2.3 to 6.9 ± 2.3 m/s (P = 0.001) and NT-proBNP decreased from 7,552 to 4,561 pg/ml (P = 0.001).

Conclusion: BIA is not inferior and possibly even better than clinical criteria for assessing dry weight and guiding ultrafiltration in HD patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Water / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Electric Impedance
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / blood
  • Peptide Fragments / blood
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrafiltration*
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology*


  • Peptide Fragments
  • pro-brain natriuretic peptide (1-76)
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain