Convective therapies versus low-flux hemodialysis for chronic kidney failure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2013 Nov;28(11):2859-74. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gft396. Epub 2013 Sep 29.


Background: Although convective therapies have gained popularity for the optimal removal of uremic solutes, their benefits and potential risks have not been fully elucidated. We conducted a meta-analysis of all randomized controlled trials comparing convective therapies with low-flux hemodialysis in patients with chronic kidney failure.

Methods: We performed a literature search using MEDLINE (inception-December 2012), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials,, scientific abstracts from meetings and bibliographies of retrieved articles. Randomized controlled trials comparing the effect of convective therapies including high-flux hemodialysis, hemofiltration or hemodiafiltration versus low-flux hemodialysis were included. Random-effects model meta-analyses were used to examine continuous and binary outcomes.

Results: Sixty-five (29 crossover and 36 parallel-arm) trials were identified (n = 12 182). Convective therapies resulted in a decrease in all-cause mortality [relative risk (RR) 0.88; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.76, 1.02, P = 0.09], cardiovascular mortality (RR 0.84; 95% CI 0.71, 0.98, P = 0.03), all-cause hospitalization (RR 0.91; 95% CI 0.82, 1.01; P = 0.08) and therapy-related hypotension (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.35, 0.87, P = 0.01). Convective therapies also resulted in an increase in the clearance of several low-molecular-weight (urea, creatinine and phosphate), middle-sized (β-2 microglobulin and leptin) and protein-bound (homocysteine, advanced glycation end-products and pentosidine) solutes and a decrease in inflammatory markers (interleukin-6). There was no impact of convective therapies on cardiac morphological and functional parameters, and blood pressure and anemia parameters.

Conclusions: Although convective therapies are associated with improved clearance of uremic solutes, the potential long-term benefits of specific convective modalities require further study.

Keywords: convective therapy; hemodiafiltration; hemofiltration; high-flux hemodialysis; meta-analysis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Hemodiafiltration / methods*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Renal Dialysis / methods*
  • Review Literature as Topic