Myocardial stunning in hemodialysis: What is the overall message?


S. Dorairajan, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, MO 65212, USA.


Heart failure and cardiovascular events are common in chronic renal failure. Hemodialysis (HD) causes significant hemodynamic changes and hypotension. New evidence based on intradialytic echocardiography demonstrates transient cardiac dysfunction or stunning in majority of chronic HD patients. Over time, this group may progress to chronic heart failure and appears to predict higher cardiovascular events and mortality. Although the exact etiology is unclear, alterations in HD technique and cardiac medications may reduce this complication. We review the current understanding of acute cardiac stunning during HD and present a systematic management algorithm to optimizing overall outcomes in this high-risk population.