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Length of Interdialytic Intervals Affects Morbidity and Mortality in Chronic Haemodialysis Patients

Background: Chronic in-center hemodialysis (HD) patients may experience more morbidity and mortality after the weekend. Since our Veterans Administration Hospital HD unit is closed on the weekend, non-traditional HD schedules were created. Some schedules contained a 4-day weekend compared to the usual 3-day weekend. We hypothesized that there are more frequent cardiovascular events (CVEs) and higher mortality after longer interdialytic intervals.

Methods: Patients (n=85) were placed on HD schedules as they became available. The usual interdialytic interval group consisted of patients dialyzing on Mon-Wed-Fri or Mon-Tue- Fri (longest interdialytic gap 3 days, n=29), and the long interdialytic interval group consisted of patients dialyzing on Mon-Wed-Thu, Mon-Tue-Thu, Tue-Wed-Fri, or Tue-Thu-Fri (longest interdialytic gap 4 days, n=56).

Results: All-cause mortality was not different between groups, and CVEs occurred more frequently in the usual interdialytic interval group (maybe due to higher mean potassium and phosphorus concentrations). However, within each group, a similar pattern of CVE occurrence as a function of time after dialysis was observed. Compared to CVEs occurring during the 2 days after HD (the lowest frequency), CVEs occurred 2-3 times more frequently during and immediately after HD and 5-7 times more frequently during the third and fourth days after HD. The greatest risk of CVE occurred during the fourth day after HD, which exists only in the long interdialytic interval group.

Conclusion: In chronic HD patients, CVEs are most likely to occur after the longest interdialytic intervals.


Jalal E Hakmei, Paul J Nietert, Wayne R Fitzgibbon, and Michael E Ullian

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