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Pediatr Nephrol. 2005 Feb;20(2):200-4. Epub 2004 Dec 31.

Hemodialysis acutely impairs endothelial function in children.

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Department of Pediatric Nephrology, University Medical Center Utrecht, PO Box 80590, 3508 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), including young adults. The appearance of endothelial dysfunction is an early stage in the development of atherosclerosis. There are conflicting data on the effect of hemodialysis on endothelial function in adults, but there are no studies in children. This study compares endothelial function of children on hemodialysis with healthy controls and describes the effect of a regular dialysis session on endothelial function. We studied 10 healthy children and 10 children on dialysis, before and after a regular midweek hemodialysis session. Endothelial function was studied non-invasively with ultrasound equipment as the percentage of post-ischemic flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery. In children on dialysis, FMD was 6.0+/-4.1%, while it was 14.2+/-5.8% in healthy controls (P=0.002). Hemodialysis induced a further decrease of FMD to 1.8+/-2.7% (P=0.003). Baseline diameter or distensibility of the brachial artery did not change. Systolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure decreased, while diastolic blood pressure and heart rate did not change. This study demonstrates that children on hemodialysis have endothelial dysfunction. A hemodialysis procedure induces further endothelial dysfunction in children with ESRD. This repeated insult on the endothelium with maintenance hemodialysis may contribute to the cardiovascular risk of these children.

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