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Heparin Use in Daily Hemodialysis

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More frequent dialysis is thought to be associated with increased heparin requirements; however, limited data are available which compare heparin requirements of conventional to daily dialysis. Objectives: 

To determine differences in heparin dose during conventional thrice-weekly dialysis (CHD) compared to daily hemodialysis (DHD). Methods: 

All patients within the daily home hemodialysis at the Northwest Kidney Centers were evaluated for heparin dose both pre- and post initiation of daily hemodialysis. Patients on DHD received an initial bolus of heparin, without a continuous heparin drip, and supplemental heparin midway through the dialysis run as needed to maintain adequate activated clotting times (ACTs). CHD patients received a heparin bolus, followed by initiation of heparin drip as needed to maintain adequate ACTs. Results: 

Of the 1117 patients who dialyze at the NKC, 55% were Caucasian, 21% African-American, 20% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 35% were of other ethnicity. The majority of patients were greater than 60 years (56%), while 36% ranged from 40–60 years and 13% ranged from 20–40 years. Male patients constituted 54% of patients. Diabetes was the primary cause of renal disease (36%), followed by hypertension (21%) and glomerular disease (18%). Of those patients in the home hemodialysis program (n = 45), 10 patients started daily home hemodialysis using the Aksys daily home hemodialysis system. Of those, the majority was male (100%), Caucasian (78.8%) with an average age of 46.7 ± 18 years. Glomerulonephritis was the primary cause of end-stage renal disease (40%), while the percentages of other diseases were similar [Alport's syndrome (20%), hypertension (20%) and diabetes (10%)]. Compared to initial DHD heparin requirements (10,111 ± 2219 units), CHD heparin dose requirements (6833 ± 2715 units) were significantly lower (p = 0.045); however, total heparin needs were similar between groups (10,166 ± 4380 units vs. 10,778 ± 2959 units) (p = 0.324). Conclusion: 

Although patients initiating DHD have greater initial heparin requirements than when on CHD, total heparin doses remain similar to those required on conventional thrice-weekly hemodialysis. Greater initial heparin doses required during short daily dialysis appear safe compared to those of conventional dialysis.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Home Hemodialysis Unit, Northwest Kidney Centers, Seattle, WA, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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