23 September 1998
In dialysis patients blood pressure can be well controlled with long dialysis (3 times a week for 8 h) in contrast to a more common short dialysis regime (3 times a week for 4 h). We studied whether the good blood pressure control in patients on long dialysis as compared to patients on short dialysis was associated with a decrease in extracellular fluid volume. Two-day interdialytic ambulatory blood pressure monitoring was performed in 26 non-diabetic patients on long dialysis, in 22 patients on short dialysis, matched for the years they were on dialysis treatment, and during 24 h in 19 healthy volunteers. After full equilibration, 24 h after dialysis, echography of the inferior caval vein was performed to determine fluid state. Cardiac dimensions and stroke index were measured by echocardiography. A blood sample was drawn for the determination of electrolytes and vasoactive hormones. 73% of the patients on short dialysis were using antihypertensive medication in contrast to none of the patients on long dialysis. However, blood pressure was significantly lower in patients on long dialysis (115 ± 21/67 ± 11 mm Hg) when compared to patients on short dialysis (143 ± 26/81 ± 16 mm Hg). Indexed caval vein diameter, left ventricular diameter index, and atrial natriuretic peptide were not significantly different in patients on long dialysis compared to patients on short dialysis. Also the cardiac index was comparable in patients on long and short dialysis. However, the total peripheral resistance index was significantly lower in patients on long dialysis compared to the patients on short dialysis and normal controls. The left ventricular mass index was increased in both patients on long and short dialysis compared to controls. We conclude that patients on long dialysis have adequate blood pressure control that seems mainly to be caused by a low total peripheral resistance. These data also suggest that factors other than a lower fluid state contribute to the good blood pressure control in patients on long dialysis.