A recent study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that there is an increased risk of blood clotting at the point where the patient’s blood vessels are connected to the dialysis machine known as the point of vascular access. Researchers from the University of Utah also contributed to the study. The study was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. This is yet another diverse consequence associated with a fall in blood pressure during dialysis for patients
Dialysis is a life-extending procedure for patients with kidney failure. It involves sitting in a chair three or more times a week connected to an artificial kidney machine. The patient’s blood is cleansed by exchanging fluid and electrolytes across a membrane during each three to four-hour session.
The fistula is one of the most common forms of vascular access. It is created surgically from the patient’s own blood vessels. The tubes used to transport blood to and from the body to the dialysis machine are connected to the body at this access point. Clotting is one of the problems of an access point and can lead to its closure.
This study was based on results from the Hemodialysis study, known as HEMO, a National Institutes of Health-sponsored randomized clinical trial that collected data from 1,846 patients on hemodialysis from 1995 to 2000. This study included data from 1,426 of these patients.
The team found that patients who had the most frequent episodes of low blood pressure during dialysis were two times more likely to have a clotted fistula than patients with the least episodes.
Roughly $2 billion a year is spent on vascular access in dialysis patients in the United States. Low blood pressure during dialysis occurs in about 25 percent of dialysis sessions.