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Abstract

Hypertension is highly prevalent yet poorly controlled in the majority of dialysis patients and represents a significant burden of disease, with rates of morbidity and mortality greater than those in the general population. In dialysis, blood volume plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of hypertension, with expansion of extracellular volume increasingly recognized as an independent risk factor for morbidity and mortality. Within the current paradigm of dialysis prescription the majority of patients remain chronically volume expanded. However, management of blood pressure and volume state is difficult for clinicians with a paucity of randomized evidence adding to the complexity of nonlinear morbidity and mortality associations. With dialysis itself as a significant cardiac stressor, control of volume state is critical to minimize intradialytic hemodynamic instability, aid in preservation of cardiac anatomy and prevent progression to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. This review explores the relationship of blood volume to blood pressure and potential targets for management in this at risk population.