Congestive heart failure in dialysis patients: Prevalence, incidence, prognosis and risk factors

John D. Harnett, Robert N. Foley, Gloria M. Kent, Paul E. Barre, David Murray, Patrick S. Parfrey

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611 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in dialysis subjects. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a common presenting symptom of cardiovascular disease in the dialysis population. Information regarding prevalence, incidence, risk factors and prognosis is crucial for planning rational interventional studies. A prospective multicenter cohort study of 432 dialysis patients followed for a mean of 41 months was carried out. Prospective information on a variety of risk factors was collected. Annual echocardiography and clinical assessment was performed. Major endpoints included death and the development of morbid cardiovascular events. One hundred and thirty-three (31%) subjects had CHF at the time of initiation of dialysis therapy. Multivariate analysis showed that the following risk factors were significantly and independently associated with CHF at baseline: systolic dysfunction, older age, diabetes mellitus and ischemic heart disease. Seventy-six of 299 subjects (25%) who did not have baseline CHF subsequently developed CHF during their course on dialysis. Compared to those subjects who never developed CHF (N = 218) multivariate analysis identified the following risk factors for the development of CHF: older age, anemia during dialysis therapy, hypoalbuminemia, hypertension during dialysis therapy, and systolic dysfunction. Seventy-five of the 133(56%) subjects with CHF at baseline had recurrent CHF during follow-up. Independent and significant risk factors for CHF recurrence were ischemic heart disease and systolic dysfunction, anemia during dialysis therapy and hypoalbuminemia. The median survival of subjects with CHF at baseline was 36 months compared to 62 months in subjects without CHF. In this study the prevalence of CHF on starting ESRD therapy and the subsequent annual incidence was high. CHF was a strong, independent, adverse prognostic indicator. Risk factors for CHF include older age, pre-existing cardiac diseases (systolic dysfunction and ischemic heart disease), and potentially reversible abnormalities related to chronic uremia (anemia, hypertension and hypoalbuminemia).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)884-890
Number of pages7
JournalKidney international
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1995
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the General Hospital and Amgen Inc., California. During the preparation of this research Dr. Harnett was a Scholar of the Kidney


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