Cardiovascular Benefits of Extended-Time Nocturnal Hemodialysis

Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2021;19(1):21-33. doi: 10.2174/1570161118666200401112106.


Hemodialysis (HD) remains the most utilized treatment for End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) globally, mainly as conventional HD administered in 4 h sessions thrice weekly. Despite advances in HD delivery, patients with ESKD carry a heavy cardiovascular morbidity and mortality burden. This is associated with cardiac remodeling, left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), myocardial stunning, hypertension, decreased heart rate variability, sleep apnea, coronary calcification and endothelial dysfunction. Therefore, intensive HD regimens closer to renal physiology were developed. They include longer, more frequent dialysis or both. Among them, Nocturnal Hemodialysis (NHD), carried out at night while asleep, provides efficient dialysis without excessive interference with daily activities. This regimen is closer to the physiology of the native kidneys. By providing increased clearance of small and middle molecular weight molecules, NHD can ameliorate uremic symptoms, control hyperphosphatemia and improve quality of life by allowing a liberal diet and free time during the day. Lastly, it improves reproductive biology leading to successful pregnancies. Conversion from conventional to NHD is followed by improved blood pressure control with fewer medications, regression of LVH, improved LV function, improved sleep apnea, and stabilization of coronary calcifications. These beneficial effects have been associated, among others, with better extracellular fluid volume control, improved endothelial- dependent vasodilation, decreased total peripheral resistance, decreased plasma norepinephrine levels and restoration of heart rate variability. Some of these effects represent improvements in outcomes used as surrogates of hard outcomes related to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In this review, we consider the cardiovascular effects of NHD.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; carbamylated albumin; cardiac morphology; home hemodialysis; intensive hemodialysis; myocardial stunning; nocturnal hemodialysis; vascular calcification.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology*
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Renal Dialysis* / adverse effects
  • Renal Dialysis* / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Remodeling*