Ultrafiltration Rate Thresholds Associated With Increased Mortality Risk in Hemodialysis, Unscaled or Scaled to Body Size
Introduction: One proposed threshold ultrafiltration rate (UFR) of concern in hemodialysis patients is 13 ml/h per kg. We evaluated associations among UFR, postdialysis weight, and mortality to determine whether exceeding such a threshold would result in similar levels of risk for patients of different body weights.
Methods: Data were analyzed in this retrospective cohort study for 1 year following dialysis initiation (baseline) and over 2 years of follow-up in incident patients receiving thrice-weekly in-center hemodialysis. Patient-level UFR was averaged over the baseline period. To investigate the joint effect of UFR and postdialysis weight on survival, we fit Cox proportional hazards models using bivariate tensor product spline functions, adjusting for sex, race, age, diabetes, and predialysis serum albumin, phosphorus, and systolic blood pressure (BP). We constructed contour plots of mortality hazard ratios (MHRs) over the entire range of UFR values and postdialysis weights.
Results: In the studied 2542 patients, UFR not scaled to body weight was strongly associated with MHR, whereas postdialysis weight was inversely associated with MHR. MHR crossed 1.5 when unscaled UFR exceeded 1000 ml/h, and this relationship was largely independent of postdialysis weight in the range of 80 to 140 kg. A UFR warning level associated with a lower MHR of 1.3 would be 900 ml/h, whereas the UFR associated with an MHR of 1.0 was patient-size dependent. The MHR when exceeding a UFR threshold of 13 ml/h per kg was dependent on patient weight (MHR = 1.20, 1.45, and >2.0 for a 60, 80, and 100 kg patient, respectively).
Conclusion: UFR thresholds based on unscaled UFR give more uniform risk levels for patients of different sizes than thresholds based on UFR/kg.
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