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Ren Fail. 2009;31(1):75-80. doi: 10.1080/08860220802546495.

Arrhythmias and hemodialysis: role of potassium and new diagnostic tools.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.


Cardiovascular diseases represent the main causes of death in patients affected by renal failure, and arrhythmias are frequently observed in patients undergoing hemodialysis. Dialytic treatment per se can be considered as an arrhythmogenic stimulus; moreover, uraemic patients are characterized by a "pro-arrhythmic substrate" because of the high prevalence of ischaemic heart disease, left ventricular hypertrophy and autonomic neuropathy. One of the most important pathogenetic element involved in the onset of intra-dialytic arrhythmias is the alteration in electrolytes concentration, particularly calcium and potassium. It may be very useful to monitor the patient's cardiac activity during the whole hemodilaytic session. Nevertheless, the application of an extended intradialytic electrocardiographic monitoring is not simple because of several technical and structural impairments. We tried to overcome these difficulties using Whealthy, a wearable system consisting in a t-shirt composed of conductors and piezoresistive materials, integrated to form fibers and threads connected to tissutal sensors, electrodes, and connectors. ECG and pneumographic impedance signals are acquired by the electrodes in the tissue, and the data are registered by a small computer and transmitted via GPRS or Bluetooth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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