Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology

Ultrafiltration Rate Levels in Hemodialysis Patients Associated with Weight-Specific Mortality Risks

Ariella Mermelstein, Jochen G Raimann, Yuedong Wang, Peter Kotanko, null


Background: We hypothesized that the association of ultrafiltration rate with mortality in hemodialysis patients was differentially affected by weight and sex and sought to derive a sex- and weight-indexed ultrafiltration rate measure that captures the differential effects of these parameters on the association of ultrafiltration rate with mortality.

Methods: Data were analyzed from the US Fresenius Kidney Care (FKC) database for 1 year after patient entry into a FKC dialysis unit (baseline) and over 2 years of follow-up for patients receiving thrice-weekly in-center hemodialysis. To investigate the joint effect of baseline-year ultrafiltration rate and postdialysis weight on survival, we fit Cox proportional hazards models using bivariate tensor product spline functions and constructed contour plots of weight-specific mortality hazard ratios over the entire range of ultrafiltration rate values and postdialysis weights (W).

Results: In the studied 396,358 patients, the average ultrafiltration rate in ml/h was related to postdialysis weight (W) in kg: 3W+330. Ultrafiltration rates associated with 20% or 40% higher weight-specific mortality risk were 3W+500 and 3W+630 ml/h, respectively, and were 70 ml/h higher in men than in women. Nineteen percent or 7.5% of patients exceeded ultrafiltration rates associated with a 20% or 40% higher mortality risk, respectively. Low ultrafiltration rates were associated with subsequent weight loss. Ultrafiltration rates associated with a given mortality risk were lower in high-body weight older patients and higher in patients on dialysis for more than 3 years.

Conclusions: Ultrafiltration rates associated with various levels of higher mortality risk depend on body weight, but not in a 1:1 ratio, and are different in men versus women, in high-body weight older patients, and in high-vintage patients.

Copyright © 2023 by the American Society of Nephrology.

About the Authors

Dr. Peter Kotanko, MD

RRI Research Director

SVP, Corporate Research & Development

Peter Kotanko, MD, is Research Director at the Renal Research Institute (RRI), New York. Prior to joining RRI, from 1997 to 2007 he served as vice chair of a department of internal medicine at an academic teaching hospital in Graz, Austria. Prior to moving to Graz in 1989, he worked from 1982 to 1989 in the Department of Physiology and the University Clinic of Internal Medicine in Innsbruck, Austria. From 1995 to 1996 he trained in nephrology at the Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom.

Ariella Mermelstein, MA

Data Analyst

Ariella joined RRI as a data analyst in 2020 while completing her master's degree in mathematics from the Katz School at Yeshiva University. As an integral part of the research division at RRI, Ariella collaborates across all teams on various projects, particularly the physiological effects of hemodialysis on a variety of patient populations. The scope of her work includes predictive modeling, outcome analysis, and data extraction and processing. She has submitted manuscripts for publication and is looking forward to her continued career at RRI.

Jochen G. Raimann, MD, PhD, MPH

Director, Data Analytics

Jochen has worked as a full-time scientist at RRI since his start as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2007. As Senior Manager of Clinical Data Analytics, Jochen conducts epidemiological research in dialysis and oversees many analytical projects. He has first- and co-authored numerous papers and also serves as Associate Editor of the journals Trials and Scientific Reports. ochen earned his MD from the Medical University Graz, his PhD from Maastricht University, and his MPH with a focus on epidemiology and biostatistics from the City University of New York School of Public Health.