A new dry dialysate concentrate acidified with citric acid (citrate dialysate) has been used in two separate clinical studies of hemodialysis patients. The first compared a single treatment using this dialysate, with one dialysis using regular standard dialysate acidified with acetic acid (regular dialysate) in a prospective, randomized, crossover study of 74 dialyses. Changes in blood levels of electrolytes and other blood constituents during dialysis were calculated by subtracting postdialysis from predialysis blood concentrations. Compared with acetic acid dialysate, citrate dialysate was associated with significantly greater decreases in total and ionized calcium, magnesium, and chloride levels. Citrate dialysate was also associated with greater increases in serum sodium and citrate concentrations, although their postdialysis concentrations remained within or just outside normal ranges. Changes in other blood constituents were similar with both dialysates. The second study used citrate dialysate exclusively for all dialyses over a 12-week period in 25 patients. Predialysis blood samples were drawn at the start of the study and at 4-week intervals thereafter, and postdialysis blood samples were obtained after the first and last dialysis. Repeated-measure analysis showed that although predialysis blood concentrations of magnesium, potassium, and citrate remained within the normal range, there was a significant declining trend over the course of the study. At the same time, predialysis serum bicarbonate levels increased, and significantly more patients had a predialysis bicarbonate concentration within the normal range at the end of the study than at the start (15 versus 8 patients; P = 0.001, chi-square). In 19 patients (excluding 3 patients for whom the type of dialyzer was changed during the study), the dose of dialysis for the first and last dialysis was calculated by urea reduction ratio and Kt/V. There was a significant increase in both measurements without changes in dialysis time, blood and dialysate flows, or dialyzer used. The urea reduction ratio increased from 68% +/- 5.9% to 73% +/- 5.3% (P < 0. 03), and the Kt/V from 1.23 +/- 0.19 to 1.34 +/- 0.20 (P = 0.01) from the first to last dialysis, respectively. In conclusion, this citric acid dialysate was well tolerated, and intradialytic changes in blood chemistries were similar to those seen with regular dialysate. Using dialysate containing citric instead of acetic acid increases the delivered dialysis dose.