Hemolysis in a Patient during Hemodialysis

Case Rep Nephrol Dial. 2021 Nov 23;11(3):348-354. doi: 10.1159/000520559. eCollection 2021 Sep-Dec.


We report a case of hemolysis during a hemodialysis (HD) session in a 71-year-old man. His end-stage kidney disease is secondary to light-chain amyloidosis with renal involvement. Despite immunosuppressive treatment, his renal function continued to decline, and dialysis had to be initiated. Peritoneal dialysis (PD) was started but that had to be converted to HD because of pleural effusion due to PD fluid leakage. On the event day, the patient presented a respiratory distress 2 h after the initiation of HD. He developed a sudden onset of dyspnea with hypoxemia, associated with abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. He also presented chest pain with arterial hypertension. The pre-pump arterial and post-pump pressures were, respectively, 40 and 100 mm Hg, with no machine alarm. The blood color in the circuit changed and became darker, so HD was stopped immediately without blood restitution, and then a blood workup was obtained, and the patient was treated with oxygen therapy, IV methylprednisolone 40 mg, and IV furosemide 100 mg. Tubing checkup performed after the incident showed a kinked arterial tube which led to the suspicion of acute hemolysis. Blood transfusion was therefore urgently ordered, and the patient was immediately transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). Artificial ventilation was required for 4 days, with initial massive blood transfusion. A 24-h treatment with extracorporeal cytokine adsorber CytoSorb® was also performed, followed by the regular HD sessions thrice weekly. Evolution was favorable, and the patient was discharged from the ICU 18 days later.

Keywords: Faulty blood tubing sets; Hemodialysis; Hemolysis; Kinking of bloodlines.

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  • Case Reports