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Abstract

Universal lower dialysate [Na+] is often advocated as a means of improving the dire cardiovascular plight of our dialysis patients. However, there is evidence associating lower dialysate [Na+] and increased morbidity and mortality especially in frailer patients, probably as a result of more frequent intra-dialytic hypotension. In this editorial, we summarize arguments for and against lower dialysate [Na+], and provide recommendations around selecting the most appropriate dialysate [Na+] for specific clinical subsets that may benefit from manipulation of salt and water balance. The lack of overall clarity on relative benefits and risks of lower dialysate [Na+] does not support the case for empirical “across the board” change, and experimental testing in clinical trials is required to determine safe and effective use.