Prior small studies have shown multiple benefits of frequent nocturnal hemodialysis compared to conventional three times per week treatments. To study this further, we randomized 87 patients to three times per week conventional hemodialysis or to nocturnal hemodialysis six times per week, all with single-use high-flux dialyzers. The 45 patients in the frequent nocturnal arm had a 1.82-fold higher mean weekly stdKt/V(urea), a 1.74-fold higher average number of treatments per week, and a 2.45-fold higher average weekly treatment time than the 42 patients in the conventional arm. We did not find a significant effect of nocturnal hemodialysis for either of the two coprimary outcomes (death or left ventricular mass (measured by MRI) with a hazard ratio of 0.68, or of death or RAND Physical Health Composite with a hazard ratio of 0.91). Possible explanations for the left ventricular mass result include limited sample size and patient characteristics. Secondary outcomes included cognitive performance, self-reported depression, laboratory markers of nutrition, mineral metabolism and anemia, blood pressure and rates of hospitalization, and vascular access interventions. Patients in the nocturnal arm had improved control of hyperphosphatemia and hypertension, but no significant benefit among the other main secondary outcomes. There was a trend for increased vascular access events in the nocturnal arm. Thus, we were unable to demonstrate a definitive benefit of more frequent nocturnal hemodialysis for either coprimary outcome.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00271999.