We have developed a simplified method for performing regional citrate anticoagulation during hemodialysis. High ultrafiltration rates and specialized equipment were obviated by the use of a 1.6-mol/L trisodium citrate solution and a standard calcium-containing dialysate. Thirty-six dialyses were performed with this technique on 14 stable and 22 high bleeding risk patients. There was no significant decline in plasma-ionized calcium during citrate dialysis, ie, 3.85 +/- 0.34 mg/dL (mean +/- SE) predialysis, to 3.31 +/- 0.26 postdialysis; furthermore, no patient developed neuromuscular symptoms or evidence of cardiovascular instability from hypocalcemia. Serum sodium rose with this procedure, but not to hypernatremic levels. This method of citrate dialysis is safe and effective during continuous blood flow (double-needle) hemodialysis, and is no more difficult to perform than conventional heparin dialysis. Single-needle (reciprocating blood flow) hemodialysis was successfully performed by the additional use of a calcium-free dialysate and separate calcium chloride infusion (10% calcium chloride), but risks the production of unexpected hypercalcemia.