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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  Effect of increased convective clearance by on-line hemodiafiltration on all cause and cardiovascular mortality in chronic hemodialysis patients – the Dutch CONvective TRAnsport STudy (CONTRAST): rationale and design of a randomised controlled trial [ISRCTN38365125] 
The high incidence of cardiovascular disease in patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) is related to the accumulation of uremic toxins in the middle and large-middle molecular weight range. As online hemodiafiltration (HDF) removes these molecules more effectively than standard hemodialysis (HD), it has been suggested that online HDF improves survival and cardiovascular outcome. Thus far, no conclusive data of HDF on target organ damage and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are available. Therefore, the CONvective TRAnsport STudy (CONTRAST) has been initiated.
CONTRAST is a Dutch multi-center randomised controlled trial. In this trial, approximately 800 chronic hemodialysis patients will be randomised between online HDF and low-flux HD, and followed for three years. The primary endpoint is all cause mortality. The main secondary outcome variables are fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events.
The study is designed to provide conclusive evidence whether online HDF leads to a lower mortality and less cardiovascular events as compared to standard HD.
PMCID: PMC1156925  PMID: 15907201
End stage renal disease; hemodialysis; hemodiafiltration; convective transport; middle molecules; mortality; cardiovascular disease; outcome

Results 1-5 (5)