Among end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients receiving hemodialysis, increased arterial stiffness is an independent cardiovascular risk predictor. Over the past few years, arterial stiffness attenuation has been increasingly recognized as a novel therapeutic target toward cardiovascular risk reduction in the dialysis population. Structural alterations related to the long-term arteriosclerotic process are difficult to modify; with the exception of blood pressure (BP)-lowering, there are no other therapeutic interventions with well-documented benefits in delaying the progression of arteriosclerosis among dialysis patients. Enhanced clearance of middle-to-high molecular weight solutes by combining convective and diffusive transport through hemodiafiltration and the associated benefits on microvascular endothelial function have generated the hypothesis that convective dialytic modalities may be advantageous in improving large-artery stiffness. This notion is supported by some clinical studies showing that switching ESRD patients from low-flux hemodialysis to high-efficiency on-line hemodiafiltration was associated with significant reduction in arterial stiffness. These beneficial effects, however, were not confirmed in a recent subanalysis of the CONvective TRAnsport STudy (CONTRAST) trial. In this chapter, we summarize the currently available evidence on the effect of hemodiafiltration versus hemodialysis on arterial stiffness, discussing also the potential clinical implications of this effect.
Part of the book: Advances in Hemodiafiltration