Background: Intradialytic hypotension (IDH) is associated with morbidity and mortality. We conducted a systematic review to determine whether biofeedback hemodialysis (HD) can improve IDH and other outcomes, compared with HD without biofeedback.
Methods: Data sources included the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE and ISI Web of Science. We included randomized trials that enrolled adult patients (>18 years) with IDH or extracellular fluid expansion and that used biofeedback to guide ultrafiltration and/or dialysate conductivity. Two authors assessed trial quality and independently extracted data in duplicate. We assessed heterogeneity using I(2). We applied the GRADE framework for rating the quality of evidence.
Results: We found two parallel-arm randomized controlled clinical trials and six randomized crossover trials meeting inclusion criteria. All trials were open-label and at least four were industry-sponsored. Studies were small (median n = 27). No study evaluated hospitalization and the evidence for effect on mortality was of very low quality. Three studies assessed quality of life (QoL); none demonstrated benefit or harm, and quality of evidence was very low. Biofeedback significantly reduced IDH (risk ratio 0.61, 95% confidence interval 0.44-0.86; I(2)= 0%). Quality of evidence for this outcome was low due to risk of bias and potential publication bias.
Conclusions: Biofeedback dialysis significantly reduces the frequency of IDH. Large and well-designed randomized trials are needed to assess the effects on survival, hospitalization and QoL.