ABSTRACT: An elevated calcium x phosphate product (Ca x P) is an independent risk factor for vascular calcification and cardiovascular death in dialysis patients. More physiological dialysis in patients undergoing nocturnal hemodialysis (NHD) has been shown to produce biochemical advantages compared with conventional hemodialysis (CHD) including superior phosphate (P) control. Benefits of dialysate with greater calcium (Ca) concentration are also reported in NHD to prevent Ca depletion and subsequent hyperparathyroidism, but there are concerns that a higher dialysate Ca concentration may contribute to raised serum Ca levels and greater Ca x P and vascular disease. The NHD program at our unit has been established for 4 years, and we retrospectively analyzed Ca and P metabolism in patients undergoing NHD (8-9 h/night, 6 nights/week). Our cohort consists of 11 patients, mean age 49.3 years, who had been on NHD for a minimum of 12 months, mean 34.3 months. Commencement was with low-flux (LF) NHD and 1.5 mmol/L Ca dialysate concentration, with conversion to high-flux (HF) dialyzers after a period (mean duration 18.7 months). We compared predialysis serum albumin, intact parathyroid hormone, P, total corrected Ca, and Ca x P at baseline on CHD, after conversion to LF NHD and during HF NHD. We also prospectively measured bone mineral density (BMD) on all patients entering the NHD program. Bone densitometry (DEXA) scans were performed at baseline (on CHD) and yearly after commencement of NHD. With the introduction of HF dialyzers, the Ca dialysate concentration was concurrently raised to 1.75 mmol/L after demonstration on DEXA scans of worsening osteopenia. Analysis of BMD, for all parameters, revealed a decrease over the first 12 to 24 months (N = 11). When the dialysate Ca bath was increased, the median T and Z scores subsequently increased (data at 3 years, N = 6). The mean predialysis P levels were significantly lower on LF NHD vs. CHD (1.51 vs. 1.77 mmol/L, p = 0.014), while on HF NHD P was lower again (1.33 mmol/L, p = 0.001 vs. CHD). Predialysis Ca levels decreased with conversion from CHD to LF NHD (2.58 vs. 2.47 mmol/L, p = 0.018) using a 1.5 mmol/L dialysate Ca concentration. The mean Ca x P on CHD was 4.56 compared with a significant reduction of 3.74 on LF NHD (p = 0.006) and 3.28 on HF NHD (p = 0.001 vs. CHD), despite the higher dialysate Ca in the latter. We conclude that an elevated dialysate Ca concentration is required to prevent osteopenia. With concerns that prolonged higher Ca levels contribute to increased cardiovascular mortality, the optimal Ca dialysate bath is still unknown. Better P control on NHD, however, reduces the overall Ca x P, despite the increased Ca concentration, therefore reducing the risk of vascular calcification.
Hemodialysis International 08/2006; 10(3):280-6. · 1.54 Impact Factor