Introduction: It has been suggested that sudden cardiac death (SCD) contributes around 50% of cardiovascular and 27% of all-cause mortality in hemodialysis patients. The true burden of arrhythmias and arrhythmic deaths in this population, however, remains poorly characterised. Cardio Renal Arrhythmia Study in Hemodialysis (CRASH-ILR) is a prospective, implantable loop recorder single centre study of 30 established hemodialysis patients and one of the first to provide long-term ambulatory ECG monitoring.
Methods: 30 patients (60% male) aged 68±12 years receiving hemodialysis for 45±40 months with varied etiology (diabetes 37%, hypertension 23%) and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) 55±8% received a Reveal XT implantable loop recorder (Medtronic, USA) between August 2011 and October 2014. ECG data from loop recorders were transmitted at each hemodialysis session using a remote monitoring system. Primary outcome was SCD or implantation of a (tachy or bradyarrhythmia controlling) device and secondary outcome, the development of arrhythmia necessitating medical intervention.
Results: During 379,512 hours of continuous ECG monitoring (mean 12,648±9,024 hours/patient), there were 8 deaths-2 SCD and 6 due to generalised deterioration/sepsis. 5 (20%) patients had a primary outcome event (2 SCD, 3 pacemaker implantations for bradyarrhythmia). 10 (33%) patients reached an arrhythmic primary or secondary end point. Median event free survival for any arrhythmia was 2.6 years (95% confidence intervals 1.6-3.6 years).
Conclusions: The findings confirm the high mortality rate seen in hemodialysis populations and contrary to initial expectations, bradyarrhythmias emerged as a common and potentially significant arrhythmic event.