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PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36758. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036758. Epub 2012 May 23.

Back to basics: pitting edema and the optimization of hypertension treatment in incident peritoneal dialysis patients (BRAZPD).

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Nefroclínica de Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


Systemic arterial hypertension is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease that is frequently observed in populations with declining renal function. Initiation of renal replacement therapy at least partially decreases signs of fluid overload; however, high blood pressure levels persist in the majority of patients after dialysis initiation. Hypervolemia due to water retention predisposes peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients to hypertension and can clinically manifest in several forms, including peripheral edema. The approaches to detect edema, which include methods such as bioimpedance, inferior vena cava diameter and biomarkers, are not always available to physicians worldwide. For clinical examinations, the presence of pitting located in the lower extremities and/or over the sacrum to diagnose the presence of peripheral edema in their patients are frequently utulized. We evaluated the impact of edema on the control of blood pressure of incident PD patients during the first year of dialysis treatment. Patients were recruited from 114 Brazilian dialysis centers that were participating in the BRAZPD study for a total of 1089 incident patients. Peripheral edema was diagnosed by the presence of pitting after finger pressure was applied to the edematous area. Patients were divided into 2 groups: those with and without edema according to the monthly medical evaluation. Blood arterial pressure, body mass index, the number of antihypertensive drugs and comorbidities were analyzed. We observed an initial BP reduction in the first five months and a stabilization of blood pressure levels from five to twelve months. The edematous group exhibited higher blood pressure levels than the group without edema during the follow-up. The results strongly indicate that the presence of a simple and easily detectable clinical sign of peripheral edema is a very relevant tool that could be used to re-evaluate not only the patient's clinical hypertensive status but also the PD prescription and patient compliance.

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