Volume overload is common and associated with adverse outcomes in the hemodialysis population including systemic hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy, and mortality. Since the beginning of the era of maintenance dialysis, prescribing and maintaining a dry weight remains the standard of care for managing volume overload on hemodialysis. Reducing dry weight even by relatively small amounts has been shown to improve blood pressure and has been associated with reductions in left ventricular hypertrophy. Maintaining an adequately low dry weight requires attention to sodium intake and adequate time on dialysis, as well as a high index of suspicion for volume overload. Reducing dry weight can provoke decreased cardiac chamber filling and is associated with risks including intradialytic hypotension. The ideal method to minimize intradialytic morbidity is unknown, but more frequent dialysis should be considered. Experimental methods of assessing volume status may allow identification of patients most likely both to tolerate and to benefit from dry weight reduction, but further study is needed.
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