Cardiac diseases in maintenance hemodialysis patients: Results of the HEMO Study

Alfred K. Cheung, Mark J. Sarnak, Guofen Yan, Michael Berkoben, Robert Heyka, Allen Kaufman, Julia Lewis, Michael Rocco, Robert Toto, David Windus, Daniel Ornt, Andrew S. Levey

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415 Scopus citations


Background. Cardiac disease is a common cause of death in chronic hemodialysis patients. A subanalysis of the data on cardiac diseases in the Hemodialysis (HEMO) Study was performed. The specific objectives were: (1) to analyze the prevalence of cardiac disease at baseline; (2) to characterize the incidence of various types of cardiac events during follow-up; (3) to examine the association of cardiac events during follow-up with baseline cardiac diseases; and (4) to examine the effect of dose and flux interventions on various types of cardiac events. Methods. The HEMO Study is a randomized multi-center trial on 1846 chronic hemodialysis patients at 15 clinical centers comprising 72 dialysis units. The scheduled maximum follow-up duration was 0.9 to 6.6 years, with the mean actual follow-up of 2.84 years. The interventions were standard-dose versus high-dose and low-flux versus high-flux hemodialysis in a 2 x 2 factorial design. Results. At baseline, 80% of patients had cardiac diseases, including ischemic heart disease (IHD) (39%), congestive heart failure (40%), arrhythmia (31%), and other heart diseases (63%). There were a total of 1685 cardiac hospitalizations, with angina and acute myocardial infarction accounting for 42.7% of these hospitalizations. There were 343 cardiac deaths during follow-up, accounting for 39.4% of all deaths. IHD was implicated in 61.5% of the cardiac deaths. Any cardiac disease at baseline was highly predictive of cardiac death during follow-up [relative risk (RR) 2.57; 95% CI 1.73-3.83]. There were no significant effects of dose or flux assignments on the primary outcome of all-cause mortality or the main secondary cardiac composite outcome of first cardiac hospitalization or all-cause mortality. Assignment to high-flux dialysis was, however, associated with decreased cardiac mortality and the composite outcome of first cardiac hospitalization or death from cardiac causes. Conclusion. The HEMO Study identified IHD to be a major cause of cardiac hospitalizations and cardiac deaths. Future strategies for the prevention of cardiac diseases in the maintenance hemodialysis population should focus on this entity. Although high-flux dialysis did not reduce all-cause mortality, it might improve cardiac outcomes. This hypothesis needs to be further examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2380-2389
Number of pages10
JournalKidney international
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Cardiac disease
  • Hemodialysis
  • High flux
  • Mortality
  • Outcome
  • Randomized trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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