Background: Left ventricular disease occurs frequently in dialysis patients. It may be manifest as concentric LV hypertrophy, LV dilatation with or without LV hypertrophy, or systolic dysfunction. Little is known concerning the clinical outcome and risk factors for these disorders.
Methods: A cohort of 432 end-stage renal disease patients who survived at least 6 months had an echocardiogram on initiation of dialysis therapy. Clinical, laboratory and echocardiographic data was obtained annually during follow-up.
Results: On initiation of ESRD therapy 16% of patients had systolic dysfunction, 41% concentric LV hypertrophy, 28% LV dilatation, and only 16% had normal echocardiograms. Median time to development of heart failure was 19 months in patients with systolic dysfunction, 38 months in concentric LV hypertrophy and 38 months in LV dilatation. The relative risks of heart failure in the three groups were significantly worse than in the normal group, after adjusting for age, diabetes and ischaemic heart disease. Median survival was 38 months in systolic dysfunction, 48 months in concentric hypertrophy, 56 months in LV dilatation, and >66 months in the normal group. Two hundred and seventy-five patients had a follow-up echocardiogram 17 months after starting dialysis therapy together with serial measurement of potential risk factors prior to the echocardiogram. On follow-up echocardiogram the degree of concentric LV hypertrophy was independently related to hypertension while on dialysis, older age, and anaemia while on dialysis; the degree of LV dilatation was related to ischaemic heart disease, anaemia, hypertension and hypoalbuminemia while on dialysis; the degree of systolic dysfunction was associated with ischaemic heart disease and anaemia during follow-up.
Conclusions: Manifestations of left ventricular disease are frequent and persistent in chronic uraemia, and are associated with high risks of heart failure and death. Potentially reversible risk factors include anaemia, hypertension, hypoalbuminaemia and ischaemic heart disease.