Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Patients receiving dialysis are at a heightened risk for sudden cardiac death

Understanding sudden cardiac death in dialysis patients will aid in developing better standards for prevention

Approximately 500,000 Americans require dialysis to treat kidney disease; of that population nearly half of the deaths that occur are caused by cardiovascular disease. Dialysis patients are at elevated risk for sudden cardiac death, but physicians are unclear why these deaths occur because little research has been done to examine how to best manage heart disease in this high-risk population.

Northwestern Medicine cardiologist Rod Passman, MD, medical director for the Center for Atrial Fibrillation at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital will present a paper at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions being held November 13 through 17 in Chicago about sudden cardiac death in dialysis patients. Passman is working to increase understanding within the medical community about this heightened mortality risk and how to prevent sudden cardiac death among this rapidly growing patient population.

"Dialysis patients have extraordinarily high mortality rates with cardiac disease accounting for 43 percent of deaths in this population; data indicates that approximately 27 percent of the mortalities are due to sudden cardiac death," said Passman, who is also an associate professor of cardiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "Patients on dialysis are excluded from clinical trials examining sudden cardiac death because of their kidney disease. The lack of research complicates clinicians' ability to understand the connection between renal disease and cardiovascular disease. The medical community needs to stop neglecting this community of patients because it is a rapidly growing group."

Sudden cardiac death is unexpected natural death from a cardiac cause within a short time period, generally less than an hour from the onset of symptoms in a person without prior condition that would appear fatal. In most cases, sudden cardiac death occurs because of ventricular arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), including ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF).

"Risk of cardiac arrest in dialysis patients is related to age and dialysis duration," said Passman. "A study by the United States Renal Disease Data System (USRDS) indicates longer dialysis duration is associated with higher mortality. This data also leads us to believe that end-stage renal disease is a primary promoter of cardiac disease and increased risk for sudden cardiac death."

By analyzing USRDS data, Passman and other researchers are beginning to better understand how cardiovascular disease affects renal patients and developing plans for preventing sudden cardiac death. "The more understanding we gain in regards to why these patients are dying from sudden cardiac death, the better chance we have to save them," Passman explained. "The best methods for prevention are medicinal options, including beta-adrenergic blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin type II receptor blockers (ARB), or both external and implantable defibrillators."

Data also indicates a connection between potassium levels in a patient's dialysate prescription and sudden cardiac death. Patients who suffered a cardiac arrest during dialysis were twice as likely to be on low-potassium dialysate versus higher levels of potassium, which were associated with the best survival rates. According to Passman, clinicians should evaluate and modify dialysate prescription on an ongoing basis in an effort to minimize risk of sudden cardiac death.

By highlighting the issue of sudden cardiac death in dialysis patients, Passman hopes that he and other physicians will be able to better understand this unique patient population. "There is very little research related to prevention of sudden cardiac death in dialysis patient; this group remains a mystery in terms of medical research, even though their numbers are growing," said Passman. "The lack of research and study of cardiovascular disease in kidney patients is a problem that must be addressed. By understanding why dialysis patients are at such great risk for sudden cardiac death, we can begin to develop better standards for prevention."

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Northwestern Memorial is one of the country's premier academic medical center hospitals and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Along with its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital comprises 854 beds, 1,603 affiliated physicians and 7,144 employees. Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing exemplary patient care and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of cardiovascular care; women's health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery; solid organ and soft tissue transplants and orthopaedics.

Northwestern Memorial possesses nursing Magnet Status, the nation's highest recognition for patient care and nursing excellence, and it is listed in 12 clinical specialties in U.S. News & World Report's 2010 "America's Best Hospitals" guide. For 10 years running, it has been rated among the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" guide by Working Mother magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the prestigious National Quality Health Care Award and has been chosen by Chicagoans as the Consumer Choice according to the National Research Corporation's annual survey for 11 years.

Megan McCann | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>