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Excessive ultrafiltration is associated with intra-dialytic symptoms, loss of residual function, and mortality in haemodialysis patients. A major contributor to excessive ultrafiltration is within-individual variation in pre-dialysis weight and the concept of achieving a fixed target weight by the end of each dialysis session. Haemodialysis protocols which allow variable post-dialysis weight have not been proposed. Weight variation was observed in haemodialysis patients and healthy controls to estimate the proportion of pre-dialysis weight variation which could be considered natural variation. These estimates were used to derive a novel protocol for setting ultrafiltration, which was evaluated by mathematical modelling. Amongst 20 haemodialysis patients, mean (SD) pre-dialysis weight was 102.74 (0.94)% of target weight after a 2-day gap and 103.50 (0.94)% after a 3-day gap. Amongst 10 healthy individuals, mean (SD) daily weight was 100.0 (0.71)% of average weight. A 4-component model of pre-dialysis weight was derived using these estimates, in which the best estimate of pre-dialysis excess fluid is the midpoint of excess weight and average fluid gain, and used to propose a novel protocol for ultrafiltration setting. In simulations, the novel protocol reduced ultrafiltration variation by more than half (standard deviation 0.6 vs. 1.3% of target weight, p < 0.001), without increasing the variation in post-dialysis fluid excess. Excessive ultrafiltration rates (over 13 mL/h/kg) were far less frequent using this protocol (2.6% vs. 7.5% of sessions, p = 0.001). Considering natural weight variation allows the development of a novel protocol for ultrafiltration in which target weight does not have to be achieved precisely: it is therefore a soft target. This protocol, which is predicted to substantially reduce excessive ultrafiltration variation, is a zero-cost intervention with the potential to improve symptoms and clinical outcome for haemodialysis patients. © 2021 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.


Damien Ashby, Richard Corbett, Neill Duncan. Soft Target Weight: Theory and Simulation of a Novel Haemodialysis Protocol Which Reduces Excessive Ultrafiltration. Nephron. 2022;146(2):160-166

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PMID: 34784606

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