Hypertension in dialysis patients: a consensus document by the European Renal and Cardiovascular Medicine (EURECA-m) working group of the European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA) and the Hypertension and the Kidney working group of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH)*

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Abstract

In patients with end-stage renal disease treated with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, hypertension is very common and often poorly controlled. Blood pressure (BP) recordings obtained before or after hemodialysis display a J-shaped or U-shaped association with cardiovascular events and survival, but this most likely reflects the low accuracy of these measurements and the peculiar hemodynamic setting related with dialysis treatment. Elevated BP by home or ambulatory BP monitoring is clearly associated with shorter survival. Sodium and volume excess is the prominent mechanism of hypertension in dialysis patients, but other pathways, such as arterial stiffness, activation of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone and sympathetic nervous systems, endothelial dysfunction, sleep apnea and the use of erythropoietin-stimulating agents may also be involved. Nonpharmacologic interventions targeting sodium and volume excess are fundamental for hypertension control in this population. If BP remains elevated after appropriate treatment of sodium-volume excess, the use of antihypertensive agents is necessary. Drug treatment in the dialysis population should take into consideration the patient's comorbidities and specific characteristics of each agent, such as dialysability. This document is an overview of the diagnosis, epidemiology, pathogenesis and treatment of hypertension in patients on dialysis, aiming to offer the renal physician practical recommendations based on current knowledge and expert opinion and to highlight areas for future research.

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