Incremental dialysis: review of recent literature

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Purpose of review

There are clinical, physiological, financial, and practical reasons to perform incremental hemodialysis in selected patients, incident to end-stage renal disease. Recent papers inform us further, especially in the large database studies.

Recent findings

Small studies suggested, then a larger study corroborated, that incremental hemodialysis was associated with preservation of residual kidney function whenever compared with conventional hemodialysis. The well tolerated nutritional status of incremental hemodialysis was questioned in a small study but a larger study was more reassuring. The mortality rate of patients undergoing incremental hemodialysis is similar to that in conventional hemodialysis, but only if the comorbidity burden is low.


Incremental hemodialysis in incident patients can be performed safely, and probably is associated with preserved residual kidney function and a similar mortality rate to convention initiation of hemodialysis. Patients must be prudently selected and managed for this approach to the initiation of dialysis.

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