Kidney & blood pressure research 2016 12 1641(6) 978-985
Acute activation of sympathetic activation during hemodialysis is essential to maintain blood pressure (BP), albeit long-term overactivity contributes to higher mortality. Low heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of autonomic nervous system activity, and abnormal ankle-brachial index (ABI) are associated with higher mortality in patients on hemodialysis. In this study, we assessed HRV and ABI pre and post dialysis in incident patients on hemodialysis using high (1.75mmol/l) and low (1.25mmol/l) dialysate calcium concentration (DCa).
HRV was measured as the ratio between low frequency and high frequency power (LF/HF). Thirty patients (age 47±16 years, 67% men) were studied in two consecutive mid-week hemodialysis sessions.
Mean BP variation was positive with DCa 1.75 and negative with DCa 1.25 [4.0 (-6.0, 12.2 mmHg) vs. -3.2 (-9.8, 1.3 mmHg); p=0.050]. Reduction of ABI from pre to post HD was related to higher sympathetic activity (p=0.031). The increase in LF/HF ratio was higher with DCa 1.75 (58.3% vs. 41.7% in DCa 1.75 and 1.25, respectively, RR 2.8; p=0.026).
Although higher DCa is associated with better hemodynamic tolerability during hemodialysis, this occurs at the expense of increased sympathetic activity. Higher sympathetic activity was associated with a decrease of ABI during hemodialysis.