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Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2015 Aug 7;10(8):1408-17. doi: 10.2215/CJN.00200115. Epub 2015 May 11.

Randomized Controlled Trial of Individualized Dialysate Cooling for Cardiac Protection in Hemodialysis Patients.

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Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom; Division of Medical Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; Department of Renal Medicine, Royal Derby Hospital, Derby, United Kingdom;
Division of Medical Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; Department of Renal Medicine, Royal Derby Hospital, Derby, United Kingdom;
Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom; National Institute for Health Research Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, Leicester, United Kingdom; and.
Division of Nephrology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada



Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in patients on hemodialysis (HD). HD-associated cardiomyopathy is appreciated to be driven by exposure to recurrent and cumulative ischemic insults resulting from hemodynamic instability of conventionally performed intermittent HD treatment itself. Cooled dialysate reduces HD-induced recurrent ischemic injury, but whether this confers long-term protection of the heart in terms of cardiac structure and function is not known.


Between September 2009 and January 2013, 73 incident HD patients were randomly assigned to a dialysate temperature of 37°C (control) or individualized cooling at 0.5°C below body temperature (intervention) for 12 months. Cardiac structure, function, and aortic distensibility were assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Mean between-group difference in delivered dialysate temperature was 1.2°C±0.3°C. Treatment effects were determined by the interaction of treatment group with time in linear mixed models.


There was no between-group difference in the primary outcome of left ventricular ejection fraction (1.5%; 95% confidence interval, -4.3% to 7.3%). However, left ventricular function assessed by peak systolic strain was preserved by the intervention (-3.3%; 95% confidence interval, -6.5% to -0.2%) as was diastolic function (measured as peak diastolic strain rate, 0.18 s(-1); 95% confidence interval, 0.02 to 0.34 s(-1)). Reduction of left ventricular dilation was demonstrated by significant reduction in left ventricular end-diastolic volume (-23.8 ml; 95% confidence interval, -44.7 to -2.9 ml). The intervention was associated with reduced left ventricular mass (-15.6 g; 95% confidence interval, -29.4 to -1.9 g). Aortic distensibility was preserved in the intervention group (1.8 mmHg(-1)×10(-3); 95% confidence interval, 0.1 to 3.6 mmHg(-1)×10(-3)). There were no intervention-related withdrawals or adverse events.


In patients new to HD, individualized cooled dialysate did not alter the primary outcome but was well tolerated and slowed the progression of HD-associated cardiomyopathy. Because cooler dialysate is universally applicable at no cost, the intervention warrants wider adoption or confirmation of these findings in a larger trial.


clinical trial; heart disease; hemodialysis

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