Beta 2-microglobulin associated amyloidosis: a vanishing complication of long-term hemodialysis?

Kidney Int. 1997 Oct;52(4):1077-83. doi: 10.1038/ki.1997.431.


Beta 2-microglobulin associated amyloidosis (A beta 2m amyloidosis) is considered an inevitable complication of chronic hemodialysis, particularly in hemodialysis with cellulose based membranes. We performed a single center study to assess the prevalence of A beta 2m amyloidosis in 1988 versus 1996. Randomly selected patients, studied in 1988, were matched for time on hemodialysis (mean 71 months, range 3 to 207) and age (mean 51 years, range 22 to 80) with patients of the 1996 population. Compared to 1988 patients, the 1996 patients exhibited a lower prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome (7 of 43 in 1988 vs. 1 of 43 in 1996; P < 0.001) and radiological evidence of A beta 2m amyloidosis (13 of 34 patients vs. 3 of 34 patients positive; P < 0.001; and 33 of 272 possible sites affected in 1988 vs. 7 of 272 sites in 1996 patients; P < 0.05). Compared to the 1988 population, the 1996 population exhibited significantly lower serum aluminum levels, lower average serum creatinine (but not urea) levels, more frequent therapy with erythropoietin, less home hemodialysis, longer hemodialysis time using high-flux synthetic dialysis membranes (mean of 13% vs. 6% of the total hemodialysis time in the 1988 group), and more frequent usage of reverse osmosis water plus bicarbonate buffer for dialysate preparation. We conclude that the prevalence and severity of A beta 2m amyloidosis unexpectedly decreased by about 80% in our center between 1988 and 1996. Given the relatively short times spent on high flux hemodialysis in both groups, increased beta 2-microglobulin removal is unlikely to account for this phenomenon. Rather, other factors, for example, dialysate composition and purity, may be involved.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyloidosis / blood*
  • Amyloidosis / epidemiology
  • Amyloidosis / etiology*
  • Arthrography
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / metabolism*


  • beta 2-Microglobulin