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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2016 Aug;31(8):1220-4. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfw259. Epub 2016 Jul 13.

Pro: Higher serum bicarbonate in dialysis patients is protective.

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Division of Nephrology, University of Missouri, CE 420, CSE Building, 1 Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO 65212, USA.


Chronic metabolic acidosis is common in dialysis patients. Bicarbonate administration via the dialysate helps maintain the acid-base balance in these patients. Serum bicarbonate level in dialysis patients is determined by several factors that include dietary protein intake, nutritional status and dialysis prescription, etc. Additionally, a meaningful interpretation of serum bicarbonate in dialysis patients requires an understanding of complexities involving its measurement. Both very low as well very high levels of serum bicarbonate have been associated with adverse outcomes in observational studies. However, recent observational data, when adjusted for the confounding effects of nutritional status, do not associate higher predialysis serum bicarbonate with adverse consequences. At this time, there are no prospective studies available that have examined the association of serum bicarbonate with hard outcomes in dialysis patients. The ideal level of serum bicarbonate in dialysis patients is therefore unknown. This article examines the available data with regard to the benefits of higher predialysis serum bicarbonate.


dialysis; inflammation; malnutrition; metabolic acidosis; peritoneal dialysis

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