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Hemodial Int. 2005 Jul;9(3):296-302.

The efficiency of potassium removal during bicarbonate hemodialysis.

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Gambro Healthcare, J. Robert Cade Foundation, Córdoba, Argentina.


Patients on chronic hemodialysis often portray high serum [K+]. Although dietary excesses are evident in many cases, in others, the cause of hyperkalemia cannot be identified. In such cases, hyperkalemia could result from decreased potassium removal during dialysis. This situation could occur if alkalinization of body fluids during dialysis would drive potassium into the cell, thus decreasing the potassium gradient across the dialysis membrane. In 35 chronic hemodialysis patients, we compared two dialysis sessions performed 7 days apart. Bicarbonate or acetate as dialysate buffers were randomly assigned for the first dialysis. The buffer was switched for the second dialysis. Serum [K+], [HCO3-], and pH were measured in samples drawn before dialysis; 60, 120, 180, and 240 min into dialysis; and 60 and 90 min after dialysis. The potassium removed was measured in the dialysate. During the first 2 hr, serum [K+] decreased equally with both types of dialysates but declined more during the last 2 hr with bicarbonate dialysis. After dialysis, the serum [K+] rebounded higher with bicarbonate bringing the serum [K+] up to par with acetate. The lower serum [K+] through the second half of bicarbonate dialysis did not impair potassium removal (295.9 +/- 9.6 mmol with bicarbonate and 299.0 +/- 14.4 mmol with acetate). The measured serum K+ concentrations correlated with serum [HCO3-] and blood pH during bicarbonate dialysis but not during acetate dialysis. Alkalinization induced by bicarbonate administration may cause redistribution of K during bicarbonate dialysis but this does not impair its removal. The more marked lowering of potassium during bicarbonate dialysis occurs late in dialysis, when exchange is negligible because of a low gradient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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