University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
JournalKidney International
Early online date19 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Aug 2021


Twice-weekly hemodialysis, as part of incremental initiation, has reported benefits including preservation of residual kidney function (RKF). To explore this, we initiated a randomized controlled feasibility trial examining 55 incident hemodialysis patients with urea clearance of 3 ml/min/1.73 m 2 or more across four centers in the United Kingdom randomized to standard or incremental schedules for 12 months. Incremental hemodialysis involved twice-weekly sessions, upwardly adjusting hemodialysis dose as RKF was lost, maintaining total (Dialysis+Renal) Std Kt/V above 2. Standard hemodialysis was thrice weekly for 3.5-4 hours, minimum Dialysis Std Kt/V of 2. Primary outcomes were feasibility parameters and effect size of group differences in rate of loss of RKF at six months. Health care cost impact and patient-reported outcomes were explored. Around one-third of patients met eligibility criteria. Half agreed to randomization; 26 received standard hemodialysis and 29 incremental. At 12 months, 21 incremental patients remained in the study vs 12 in the standard arm with no group differences in the urea clearance slope. Ninety-two percent of incremental and 75% of standard arm patients had a urea clearance of 2 ml/min/1.73 m 2 or more at six months. Serious adverse events were less frequent in incremental patients (Incidence Rate Ratio 0.47, confidence interval 0.27-0.81). Serum bicarbonate was significantly lower in incremental patients indicating supplementation may be required. There were three deaths in each arm. Blood pressure, extracellular fluid and patient-reported outcomes were similar. There was no signal of benefit of incremental hemodialysis in terms of protection of RKF or Quality of Life score. Median incremental hemodialysis costs were significantly lower compared to standard hemodialysis. Thus, incremental hemodialysis appears safe and cost-saving in incident patients with adequate RKF, justifying a definitive trial.


© 2021 Published by Elsevier, Inc., on behalf of the International Society of Nephrology.

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