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Kidney Int. 2004 Nov;66(5):2077-84.

Measurement of dialyzer clearance, dialysis time, and body size: death risk relationships among patients.

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Fresenius Medical Care (North America), Lexington, Massachusetts 02420-9192, USA.



Urea pharmacokinetic equation systems have contributed to better understanding of treatment dose among hemodialysis patients. The methods are indirect, however, and require the measurement of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) concentration before and after a dialysis session to estimate the total treatment dose that clinicians prescribe [urea clearance x dialysis time (Kt)] indexed to an estimate of body size [the volume of urea distribution in the body (V)] yielding the ratio, Kt/V. New technology permits direct on-line measurement of average small molecule clearance (Kecn) during each dialysis treatment that can be multiplied by time (t) to give a direct measurement of total treatment dose (Kt). This study evaluated the relationship of measured Kt with death risk. It also evaluated the relationship of simple body size measures to risk and also the combination of one such measure [body surface area (BSA)] with Kt to death risk.


The data were taken from the Fresenius Medical Care (NA) (FMCNA) clinical database that included patients who had outcome data, height and weight measurements, and at least one average Kecn and t measurement during April 2002. Kecn, t, and the body size measures [body weight, body mass index (BMI), and BSA)] were averaged during the month. Those values were used as predictors of survival during the next 1 year in unadjusted and case mix adjusted proportional hazards (Cox) models.


Increasing values of Kecn, t, Kt and all of the body size measures were associated with lower death risk. The body size measure most closely associated with risk was the BSA that was used in subsequent models. Kt and BSA were independent risk predictors. There was a significant interaction between Kt and BSA in the case mix but not the unadjusted model indicating that the risk burden of lower total dialysis dose, Kt, may be greater among small than large patients.


The direct measurement of dialysis dose during each treatment is practical and the values reported by it are clinically relevant. Higher dose was associated with better survival in both small and large patients treated three times weekly. Furthermore, smaller patients may require proportionately greater total dose than larger patients to achieve comparable survival.

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