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1.  Association between routine and standardized blood pressure measurements and left ventricular hypertrophy among patients on hemodialysis 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:13.
Background
Left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy is common among patients on hemodialysis. While a relationship between blood pressure (BP) and LV hypertrophy has been established, it is unclear which BP measurement method is the strongest correlate of LV hypertrophy. We sought to determine agreement between various blood pressure measurement methods, as well as identify which method was the strongest correlate of LV hypertrophy among patients on hemodialysis.
Methods
This was a post-hoc analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial. We evaluated the agreement between seven BP measurement methods: standardized measurement at baseline; single pre- and post-dialysis, as well as mean intra-dialytic measurement at baseline; and cumulative pre-, intra- and post-dialysis readings (an average of 12 monthly readings based on a single day per month). Agreement was assessed using Lin's concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) and the Bland Altman method. Association between BP measurement method and LV hypertrophy on baseline cardiac MRI was determined using receiver operating characteristic curves and area under the curve (AUC).
Results
Agreement between BP measurement methods in the 39 patients on hemodialysis varied considerably, from a CCC of 0.35 to 0.94, with overlapping 95% confidence intervals. Pre-dialysis measurements were the weakest predictors of LV hypertrophy while standardized, post- and inter-dialytic measurements had similar and strong (AUC 0.79 to 0.80) predictive power for LV hypertrophy.
Conclusions
A single standardized BP has strong predictive power for LV hypertrophy and performs just as well as more resource intensive cumulative measurements, whereas pre-dialysis blood pressure measurements have the weakest predictive power for LV hypertrophy. Current guidelines, which recommend using pre-dialysis measurements, should be revisited to confirm these results.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-13
PMCID: PMC2901323  PMID: 20576127
2.  Overview of the Alberta Kidney Disease Network 
BMC Nephrology  2009;10:30.
Background
The Alberta Kidney Disease Network is a collaborative nephrology research organization based on a central repository of laboratory and administrative data from the Canadian province of Alberta.
Description
The laboratory data within the Alberta Kidney Disease Network can be used to define patient populations, such as individuals with chronic kidney disease (using serum creatinine measurements to estimate kidney function) or anemia (using hemoglobin measurements). The administrative data within the Alberta Kidney Disease Network can also be used to define cohorts with common medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Linkage of data sources permits assessment of socio-demographic information, clinical variables including comorbidity, as well as ascertainment of relevant outcomes such as health service encounters and events, the occurrence of new specified clinical outcomes and mortality.
Conclusion
The unique ability to combine laboratory and administrative data for a large geographically defined population provides a rich data source not only for research purposes but for policy development and to guide the delivery of health care. This research model based on computerized laboratory data could serve as a prototype for the study of other chronic conditions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-10-30
PMCID: PMC2770500  PMID: 19840369
3.  Prevention of catheter lumen occlusion with rT-PA versus heparin (Pre-CLOT): study protocol of a randomized trial [ISRCTN35253449] 
BMC Nephrology  2006;7:8.
Background
Many patients with end-stage renal disease use a central venous catheter for hemodialysis access. A large majority of these catheters malfunction within one year of insertion, with up to two-thirds due to thrombosis. The optimal solution for locking the catheter between hemodialysis sessions, to decrease the risk of thrombosis and catheter malfunction, is unknown. The Prevention of Catheter Lumen Occlusion with rt-PA versus Heparin (PreCLOT) study will determine if use of weekly rt-PA, compared to regular heparin, as a catheter locking solution, will decrease the risk of catheter malfunction.
Methods/Design
The study population will consist of patients requiring chronic hemodialysis thrice weekly who are dialyzed with a newly inserted permanent dual-lumen central venous catheter. Patients randomized to the treatment arm will receive rt-PA 1 mg per lumen once per week, with heparin 5,000 units per ml as a catheter locking solution for the remaining two sessions. Patients randomized to the control arm will receive heparin 5,000 units per ml as a catheter locking solution after each dialysis session. The study treatment period will be six months, with 340 patients to be recruited from 14 sites across Canada. The primary outcome will be catheter malfunction, based on mean blood flow parameters while on hemodialysis, with a secondary outcome of catheter-related bacteremia. A cost-effectiveness analysis will be undertaken to assess the cost of maintaining a catheter using rt-PA as a locking solution, compared to the use of heparin.
Discussion
Results from this study will determine if use of weekly rt-PA, compared to heparin, will decrease catheter malfunction, as well as assess the cost-effectiveness of these locking solutions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-7-8
PMCID: PMC1459124  PMID: 16608513
4.  The effects of nocturnal hemodialysis compared to conventional hemodialysis on change in left ventricular mass: Rationale and study design of a randomized controlled pilot study 
BMC Nephrology  2006;7:2.
Background
Nocturnal hemodialysis (NHD) is an alternative to conventional three times per week hemodialysis (CvHD) and has been reported to improve several health outcomes. To date, no randomized controlled trial (RCT) has compared NHD and CvHD. We have undertaken a multi-center RCT in hemodialysis patients comparing the effect of NHD to CvHD on left ventricular (LV) mass, as measured by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMR).
Methodology/design
All patients in Alberta, Canada, expressing an interest in performing NHD are eligible for the study. Patients enrolled in the study will be randomized to either NHD or CvHD for a six month period. All patients will have a full clinical assessment, including collection of biochemical and cMR data at baseline and at 6 months. Both groups of patients will be monitored biweekly to optimize blood pressure (BP) to a goal of <130/80 mmHg post-dialysis using a predefined BP management protocol. The primary outcome is change in LV mass, a surrogate marker for cardiac mortality, measured at baseline and 6 months. The high sensitivity and reproducibility of cMR facilitates reduction of the required sample size and the time needed between measures compared with echocardiography. Secondary outcomes include BP control, anemia, mineral metabolism, health-related quality of life, and costs.
Discussion
To our knowledge, this study will be the first RCT evaluating health outcomes in NHD. The impact of NHD on LV mass represents a clinically important outcome which will further elucidate the potential benefits of NHD and guide future clinical endpoint studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-7-2
PMCID: PMC1458958  PMID: 16504054

Results 1-4 (4)