• Chronic fluid overload was linked with an increased risk of early death in patients undergoing hemodialysis.
  • The magnitude of this risk was comparable to that of coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure.

Newswise — Washington, DC (May 4, 2017) — New research indicates that sustained fluid overload—when there is too much fluid in the blood—may increase the risk of early death in kidney failure patients on hemodialysis. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), point to the importance of monitoring and treating fluid overload in these patients.

Sustained fluid overload can have a variety of consequences, including swelling, discomfort, hypertension, and heart problems. Although it is a major cause of concern for patients with kidney failure who are on hemodialysis, only a few small studies have looked at the relationship between fluid overload and premature death in these patients. 

To investigate, Carmine Zoccali, MD (CNR-IFC, Clinical Epidemiology and Physiopathology of Renal Diseases and Hypertension of Reggio Calabria, Italy) and his colleagues examined an extensive clinical database of a large international dialysis network. The team’s analyses were based on more than 200,000 measurements of fluid status in 39,566 patients initiating hemodialysis in 26 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. 

The researchers studied the relationship between fluid overload measured just once at the start of regular dialysis treatment and mortality, as well as the relationship between cumulative exposure to fluid overload over 1 year and mortality. They found that cumulative fluid overload over 1 year predicted a higher risk of death than the single measurement made at the start of regular dialysis treatment. “Ours is the first study providing information about the risk of persistent fluid overload in dialysis patients,” said Dr. Zoccali. “Remarkably, the excess risk for death attributable  to  persistent fluid overload was similar to the risk observed with coronary artery disease, heart failure, and being 12 years older.”

Study co-authors include Ulrich Moissl, PhD, Charles Chazot, MD, Francesca Mallamaci, MD, Giovanni Tripep, Dr Biostat, PhD, Otto Arkossy, MD, Peter Wabel, PhD, and Stefano Stuard, MD, PhD.

Disclosures: Carmine Zoccali, Francesca Mallamaci, and Giovanni Tripepi declare no conflicts of interest. The remaining authors are employees of Fresenius Medical Care

The article, entitled “Chronic Fluid Overload and Mortality in End Stage Kidney Disease,” will appear online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ on May 4, 2017, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2016121341.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has nearly 17,000 members representing 112 countries. For more information, please visit www.asn-online.org or contact the society at 202-640-4660.

# # #