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Am J Kidney Dis. 2017 Feb;69(2):266-277. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2016.09.015. Epub 2016 Nov 17.

Dialysate Potassium, Serum Potassium, Mortality, and Arrhythmia Events in Hemodialysis: Results From the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS).

Author information

1
Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, Ann Arbor, MI. Electronic address: angelo.karaboyas@arborresearch.org.
2
Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, Ann Arbor, MI.
3
DaVita Clinical Research, Minneapolis, MN.
4
Fresenius Medical Care North America, Waltham, MA.
5
Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA.
6
DaVita Healthcare Partners, Inc, El Segundo, CA; David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.
7
Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.
8
Alessandro Manzoni Hospital, Lecco, Italy.
9
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
10
Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, Ann Arbor, MI; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
11
Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, Ann Arbor, MI; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sudden death is a leading cause of death in patients on maintenance hemodialysis therapy. During hemodialysis sessions, the gradient between serum and dialysate levels results in rapid electrolyte shifts, which may contribute to arrhythmias and sudden death. Controversies exist about the optimal electrolyte concentration in the dialysate; specifically, it is unclear whether patient outcomes differ among those treated with a dialysate potassium concentration of 3 mEq/L compared to 2 mEq/L.

STUDY DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study.

SETTING & PARTICIPANTS:

55,183 patients from 20 countries in the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS) phases 1 to 5 (1996-2015).

PREDICTOR:

Dialysate potassium concentration at study entry.

OUTCOMES:

Cox regression was used to estimate the association between dialysate potassium concentration and both all-cause mortality and an arrhythmia composite outcome (arrhythmia-related hospitalization or sudden death), adjusting for potential confounders.

RESULTS:

During a median follow-up of 16.5 months, 24% of patients died and 7% had an arrhythmia composite outcome. No meaningful difference in clinical outcomes was observed for patients treated with a dialysate potassium concentration of 3 versus 2 mEq/L (adjusted HRs were 0.96 [95% CI, 0.91-1.01] for mortality and 0.98 [95% CI, 0.88-1.08] for arrhythmia composite). Results were similar across predialysis serum potassium levels. As in prior studies, higher serum potassium level was associated with adverse outcomes. However, dialysate potassium concentration had only minimal impact on serum potassium level measured predialysis (+0.09 [95% CI, 0.05-0.14] mEq/L serum potassium per 1 mEq/L greater dialysate potassium concentration).

LIMITATIONS:

Data were not available for delivered (vs prescribed) dialysate potassium concentration and postdialysis serum potassium level; possible unmeasured confounding.

CONCLUSIONS:

In combination, these results suggest that approaches other than altering dialysate potassium concentration (eg, education on dietary potassium sources and prescription of potassium-binding medications) may merit further attention to reduce risks associated with high serum potassium levels.

KEYWORDS:

Dialysate potassium; Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS); arrhythmia; cardiac instability; electrolyte shift; end-stage renal disease (ESRD); hemodialysis; hyperkalemia; mortality; potassium gradient; serum potassium; sudden death

PMID:
27866964
PMCID:
PMC5520979
DOI:
10.1053/j.ajkd.2016.09.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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