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1.  Optimization of the convection volume in online post-dilution haemodiafiltration: practical and technical issues 
Clinical Kidney Journal  2015;8(2):191-198.
In post-dilution online haemodiafiltration (ol-HDF), a relationship has been demonstrated between the magnitude of the convection volume and survival. However, to achieve high convection volumes (>22 L per session) detailed notion of its determining factors is highly desirable. This manuscript summarizes practical problems and pitfalls that were encountered during the quest for high convection volumes. Specifically, it addresses issues such as type of vascular access, needles, blood flow rate, recirculation, filtration fraction, anticoagulation and dialysers. Finally, five of the main HDF systems in Europe are briefly described as far as HDF prescription and optimization of the convection volume is concerned.
PMCID: PMC4370303  PMID: 25815176
convection volume; haemodiafiltration
2.  High convection volume in online post-dilution haemodiafiltration: relevance, safety and costs 
Clinical Kidney Journal  2015;8(4):368-373.
Increasing evidence suggests that treatment with online post-dilution haemodiafiltration (HDF) improves clinical outcome in patients with end-stage kidney disease, if compared with haemodialysis (HD). Although the primary analyses of three large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) showed inconclusive results, post hoc analyses of these and previous observational studies comparing online post-dilution HDF with HD showed that the risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality is lowest in patients who are treated with high-volume HDF. As such, the magnitude of the convection volume seems crucial and can be considered as the ‘dose’ of HDF. In this narrative review, the relevance of high convection volume in online post-dilution HDF is discussed. In addition, we briefly touch upon some safety and cost issues.
PMCID: PMC4515895  PMID: 26251701
convection volume; costs; hemodiafiltration; mortality; safety
3.  Resistance to Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents in Patients Treated with Online Hemodiafiltration and Ultrapure Low-Flux Hemodialysis: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial (CONTRAST) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94434.
Resistance to erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESA) is common in patients undergoing chronic hemodialysis (HD) treatment. ESA responsiveness might be improved by enhanced clearance of uremic toxins of middle molecular weight, as can be obtained by hemodiafiltration (HDF). In this analysis of the randomized controlled CONvective TRAnsport STudy (CONTRAST; NCT00205556), the effect of online HDF on ESA resistance and iron parameters was studied. This was a pre-specified secondary endpoint of the main trial. A 12 months' analysis of 714 patients randomized to either treatment with online post-dilution HDF or continuation of low-flux HD was performed. Both groups were treated with ultrapure dialysis fluids. ESA resistance, measured every three months, was expressed as the ESA index (weight adjusted weekly ESA dose in daily defined doses [DDD]/hematocrit). The mean ESA index during 12 months was not different between patients treated with HDF or HD (mean difference HDF versus HD over time 0.029 DDD/kg/Hct/week [−0.024 to 0.081]; P = 0.29). Mean transferrin saturation ratio and ferritin levels during the study tended to be lower in patients treated with HDF (−2.52% [−4.72 to −0.31]; P = 0.02 and −49 ng/mL [−103 to 4]; P = 0.06 respectively), although there was a trend for those patients to receive slightly more iron supplementation (7.1 mg/week [−0.4 to 14.5]; P = 0.06).
In conclusion, compared to low-flux HD with ultrapure dialysis fluid, treatment with online HDF did not result in a decrease in ESA resistance.
Trial Registration NCT00205556
PMCID: PMC3990567  PMID: 24743493
4.  Left Ventricular Mass in Dialysis Patients, Determinants and Relation with Outcome. Results from the COnvective TRansport STudy (CONTRAST) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e84587.
Background and Objectives
Left ventricular mass (LVM) is known to be related to overall and cardiovascular mortality in end stage kidney disease (ESKD) patients. The aims of the present study are 1) to determine whether LVM is associated with mortality and various cardiovascular events and 2) to identify determinants of LVM including biomarkers of inflammation and fibrosis.
Design, Setting, Participants, & Measurements
Analysis was performed with data of 327 ESKD patients, a subset from the CONvective TRAnsport STudy (CONTRAST). Echocardiography was performed at baseline. Cox regression analysis was used to assess the relation of LVM tertiles with clinical events. Multivariable linear regression models were used to identify factors associated with LVM.
Median age was 65 (IQR: 54–73) years, 203 (61%) were male and median LVM was 227 (IQR: 183–279) grams. The risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.11–2.99), cardiovascular death (HR = 3.66, 95% CI: 1.35–10.05) and sudden death (HR = 13.06; 95% CI: 6.60–107) was increased in the highest tertile (>260grams) of LVM. In the multivariable analysis positive relations with LVM were found for male gender (B = 38.8±10.3), residual renal function (B = 17.9±8.0), phosphate binder therapy (B = 16.9±8.5), and an inverse relation for a previous kidney transplantation (B = −41.1±7.6) and albumin (B = −2.9±1.1). Interleukin-6 (Il-6), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), hepcidin-25 and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) were not related to LVM.
We confirm the relation between a high LVM and outcome and expand the evidence for increased risk of sudden death. No relationship was found between LVM and markers of inflammation and fibrosis.
Trial Registration ISRCTN38365125
PMCID: PMC3914777  PMID: 24505249
5.  Should We Still Focus That Much on Cardiovascular Mortality in End Stage Renal Disease Patients? The CONvective TRAnsport STudy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61155.
We studied the distribution of causes of death in the CONTRAST cohort and compared the proportion of cardiovascular deaths with other populations to answer the question whether cardiovascular mortality is still the principal cause of death in end stage renal disease. In addition, we compared patients who died from the three most common death causes. Finally, we aimed to study factors related to dialysis withdrawal.
We used data from CONTRAST, a randomized controlled trial in 714 chronic hemodialysis patients comparing the effects of online hemodiafiltration versus low-flux hemodialysis. Causes of death were adjudicated. The distribution of causes of death was compared to that of the Dutch dialysis registry and of the Dutch general population.
In CONTRAST, 231 patients died on treatment. 32% died from cardiovascular disease, 22% due to infection and 23% because of dialysis withdrawal. These proportions were similar to those in the Dutch dialysis registry and the proportional cardiovascular mortality was similar to that of the Dutch general population. cardiovascular death was more common in patients <60 years. Patients who withdrew were older, had more co-morbidity and a lower mental quality of life at baseline. Patients who withdrew had much co-morbidity. 46% died within 5 days after the last dialysis session.
Although the absolute risk of death is much higher, the proportion of cardiovascular deaths in a prevalent end stage renal disease population is similar to that of the general population. In older hemodialysis patients cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular death risk are equally important. Particularly the registration of dialysis withdrawal deserves attention. These findings may be partly limited to the Dutch population.
PMCID: PMC3631204  PMID: 23620729
6.  Aspects of platelet disturbances in haemodialysis patients 
Clinical Kidney Journal  2013;6(3):266-271.
Patients with mild-to-chronic kidney disease (CKD) exhibit a variety of haemostatic disorders, ranging from an increased clotting tendency and reductions in the levels of natural inhibitors of coagulation to defective fibrinolysis. In addition, platelet (PLT) abnormalities are common. In this minireview, we report on aspects of haemodialysis (HD)-induced PLT activation. It is demonstrated that PLTs from HD patients are exhausted due to repeated stimulation of HD treatment and recurrent release of PLT degranulation products. During HD, additional aberrations of the haemostatic process occur. Besides deviations of coagulation and fibrinolysis, PLT activation and a reduction in their granule content have been observed during HD treatment. As HD treatment is carried out three times per week, month after month, chronic HD patients may suffer persistently from coagulation defects and PLT disorders on top of the alterations induced by the uraemic state itself. PLT activation occurs together with thrombin and fibrin generation. However, macro fibrin depositions in clot devices are not demonstrated, microaggregates occur not only in the extracorporeal circuit (ECC) but are also present in the blood circulation. As vascular access thrombosis is a frequent complication in patients with HD treatment, it is believed that hypercoagulability could result from vascular changes combined with PLTs and activation of coagulation factors.
PMCID: PMC3941307  PMID: 24596657
coagulation; end-stage kidney disease; extracorporeal blood circulation; platelet activation
7.  Premature Aging of the Microcirculation in Patients with Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease 
Nephron Extra  2012;2(1):283-292.
Increasing age and advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) are both associated with an attenuated vasodilator response of the skin microcirculation. In the present study, we investigated the effect of aging on microvascular reactivity in patients with advanced CKD.
Acetylcholine (ACh)-mediated endothelium-dependent vasodilation and sodium nitroprusside (SNP)-mediated endothelium-independent vasodilation were assessed by iontophoresis combined with laser Doppler flowmetry. Microvascular function was compared between 52 patients with advanced CKD (stage 4–5: n = 16; end-stage renal disease: n = 36) and 33 healthy control subjects. As aging has an important effect on microvascular function, both control subjects and CKD patients were divided in subgroups younger and older than 45 years. Linear regression analysis was applied to assess potential associations between microvascular function and various demographic and clinical parameters.
There were three main findings. (1) In young patients with advanced CKD, both ACh- and SNP-mediated vasodilations were impaired if compared to young healthy controls (p = 0.04 and p = 0.056, respectively). (2) In young patients with advanced CKD, microvascular function was similar to old healthy controls and elderly patients with advanced CKD. (3) Whereas age was inversely associated with microvascular function in healthy controls (log ACh-mediated vasodilation R = −0.41; p = 0.02 and log SNP-mediated vasodilation R = −0.38; p = 0.03), no such relation was found in patients with advanced CKD.
Our results are consistent with premature aging of the microvascular vasodilatory capacity in patients with advanced CKD.
PMCID: PMC3521446  PMID: 23243413
Microcirculation; Iontophoresis; Endothelial function; Aging; Chronic kidney disease
8.  Hepcidin-25 in Chronic Hemodialysis Patients Is Related to Residual Kidney Function and Not to Treatment with Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e39783.
Hepcidin-25, the bioactive form of hepcidin, is a key regulator of iron homeostasis as it induces internalization and degradation of ferroportin, a cellular iron exporter on enterocytes, macrophages and hepatocytes. Hepcidin levels are increased in chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients, but as of yet, limited information on factors associated with hepcidin-25 in these patients is available. In the current cross-sectional study, potential patient-, laboratory- and treatment-related determinants of serum hepcidin-20 and -25, were assessed in a large cohort of stable, prevalent HD patients. Baseline data from 405 patients (62% male; age 63.7±13.9 [mean SD]) enrolled in the CONvective TRAnsport STudy (CONTRAST; NCT00205556) were studied. Predialysis hepcidin concentrations were measured centrally with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Patient-, laboratory- and treatment related characteristics were entered in a backward multivariable linear regression model. Hepcidin-25 levels were independently and positively associated with ferritin (p<0.001), hsCRP (p<0.001) and the presence of diabetes (p = 0.02) and inversely with the estimated glomerular filtration rate (p = 0.01), absolute reticulocyte count (p = 0.02) and soluble transferrin receptor (p<0.001). Men had lower hepcidin-25 levels as compared to women (p = 0.03). Hepcidin-25 was not associated with the maintenance dose of erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESA) or iron therapy. In conclusion, in the currently studied cohort of chronic HD patients, hepcidin-25 was a marker for iron stores and erythropoiesis and was associated with inflammation. Furthermore, hepcidin-25 levels were influenced by residual kidney function. Hepcidin-25 did not reflect ESA or iron dose in chronic stable HD patients on maintenance therapy. These results suggest that hepcidin is involved in the pathophysiological pathway of renal anemia and iron availability in these patients, but challenges its function as a clinical parameter for ESA resistance.
PMCID: PMC3396629  PMID: 22808058
9.  Differences in quality of life of hemodialysis patients between dialysis centers 
Quality of Life Research  2011;21(2):299-307.
Hemodialysis patients undergo frequent and long visits to the clinic to receive adequate dialysis treatment, medical guidance, and support. This may affect health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Although HRQOL is a very important management aspect in hemodialysis patients, there is a paucity of information on the differences in HRQOL between centers. We set out to assess the differences in HRQOL of hemodialysis patients between dialysis centers and explore which modifiable center characteristics could explain possible differences.
This cross-sectional study evaluated 570 hemodialysis patients from 24 Dutch dialysis centers. HRQOL was measured with the Kidney Disease Quality Of Life-Short Form (KDQOL-SF).
After adjustment for differences in case-mix, three HRQOL domains differed between dialysis centers: the physical composite score (PCS, P = 0.01), quality of social interaction (P = 0.04), and dialysis staff encouragement (P = 0.001). These center differences had a range of 11–21 points on a scale of 0–100, depending on the domain. Two center characteristics showed a clinical relevant relation with patients’ HRQOL: dieticians’ fulltime-equivalent and the type of dialysis center.
This study showed that clinical relevant differences exist between dialysis centers in multiple HRQOL domains. This is especially remarkable as hemodialysis is a highly standardized therapy.
PMCID: PMC3276757  PMID: 21633878
Quality of life; Center differences; Hemodialysis; Dialysis staff encouragement

Results 1-9 (9)