Electrocardiographic measurements in children with pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease and undergoing kidney replacement therapy

Eur J Pediatr. 2023 Nov;182(11):4993-5005. doi: 10.1007/s00431-023-05154-2. Epub 2023 Aug 25.


Cardiovascular diseases are the main causes of morbidity in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Electrocardiography (ECG) can provide important information about cardiac functions and parameters associated with sudden cardiac death. This study aims to evaluate the potentially dangerous changes in CKD and kidney replacement therapies by ECG and to determine the value of ECG in predicting cardiovascular outcome compared with echocardiography. 101 patients with CKD were divided into subgroups according to treatment modalities as pre-dialysis CKD, hemodialysis (HD), peritoneal dialysis (PD) and kidney transplantation (KTx). Differences in anthropometric measurements, laboratory results, blood pressures, ECG monitoring were compared within groups as well as with 40 healthy controls. Available echocardiographic findings were noted. In the patients, HD group had highest frequency of hypertension. ECG revealed prolonged QTc as more frequent (16.8% vs 0%, p = 0.006) and higher QTcD (56.7 ± 6.5 vs 39.9 ± 5.1 ms, p = 0.001) in the patients compared to controls, especially in dialysis patients, whereas lowest values were in KTx subgroup. Left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy (LVH) was more frequent (47.1%) in HD compared to other CKD subgroups in ECG (p = 0.052). Echocardiography also showed LV mass index as highest in HD and lowest in KTx (121.4 ± 55.7 vs 63.7 ± 18.3 g/m2, p = 0.000), with numerically highest LVH in HD (58.3%, p = 0.063). Conclusion: ECG can be used to detect cardiovascular problems in patients with CKD, especially in HD. As ECG results were in line with echocardiography, patients with ECG abnormalities suggestive of LVH should be referred for echocardiographic assessment. What is Known: • Cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death are major causes of morbidity and mortality in chronic kidney disease. • Electrocardiography has significant advantages in demonstrating cardiac functions in children because it is readily available, non-invasive and often non-experts can interpret the results. What is New: • The heart rate is higher, QTc is longer and QTcD is higher in dialysis patients and the prolonged QTc is more frequent in patients with underlying glomerular diseases. • Left ventricular hypertrophy is more common in HD patients and those with hypertension, hypercalcemia, anemia or glomerular etiology. The cardiovascular risky conditions are less frequent in the patients with kidney transplantation.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Dialysis; Echocardiography; Electrocardiography; Kidney transplantation; Left ventricular hypertrophy.

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Child
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac
  • Dialysis / adverse effects
  • Electrocardiography
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / complications
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / diagnosis
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / etiology
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / therapy