Background: Hemodialysis patients have high rates of sudden death, but relationships between serum electrolytes, the dialysis prescription, and intra-dialytic shifts in fluid and electrolyte with arrhythmia are uncertain.
Methods: We analyzed sixty-six hemodialysis patients who underwent loop recorder implantation with continuous electrocardiographic monitoring, weekly to bi-weekly testing of pre- and post-dialysis electrolytes, and detailed capture of dialysis prescription and flow sheet data for 6 months. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) of reviewer confirmed arrhythmias (RCA) during dialysis through 8 h after dialysis and associations with serum chemistries and dialytic parameters were assessed using adjusted, negative-binomial regression.
Results: Among 66 individuals with a mean age of 56 years, 12,480 events were detected in 64 (97%) patients. RCA nadired 12-24 h after dialysis and increased during the final 12 h of the inter-dialytic interval through the first 8 h after dialysis. Higher pre-dialysis serum magnesium concentration was associated with lower incidence rate ratio for arrythmia (IRR per 1 mg/dL increase 0.49, 95% CI; 0.25, 0.94), as was dialysate calcium concentration > 2.5 mEq/L vs. 2.5 mEq/L (IRR 0.52, 95% CI: 0.39, 0.70). Neither intradialytic serum potassium nor weight change were significantly associated with RCA rate. However, there was effect modification such that arrhythmia rate was maximal with concurrently high intradialytic volume and potassium removal (Pinteraction = 0.01).
Conclusions: Intra and post-dialytic arrhythmias are common in hemodialysis. Additional studies designed to further elucidate whether modification of the serum magnesium concentration, dialysate calcium concentration, and the extent of intradialytic potassium and fluid removal reduces the risk of per-dialytic arrhythmia are warranted.
Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01779856. Prospectively registered on January 22, 2013.
Keywords: Arrhythmia; Cardiovascular disease; End stage renal disease; Hemodialysis.