Similar trends were seen in the home-based trial, but the results were not statistically significant, according to the study results, which were published online Feb. 7 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The findings are the first to show that frequent dialysis may have potentially harmful effects on the blood-access site, and provide valuable information for dialysis patients and their doctors, Suri said in a journal news release.
Two kidney experts said the results are not surprising, since dialysis is always a balancing act between risks and benefits.
"Frequent dialysis has been an area of intense interest since the publication in 2010 of a study from the Frequent Hemodialysis Network (FHN) that found a reduced rate of death and other events with frequent dialysis," said Dr. Steven Fishbane, director of clinical research in the department of medicine at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y.
But he said the new study is a reminder that there is a downside in terms of complications. "Further work will be necessary to determine how to reduce these complications given the important improvement in patient health with frequent dialysis," he said.
Dr. Brian Radbill is associate professor of medicine in the department of nephrology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. He was also involved in the FHN trial that helped confirm the benefits of daily dialysis. Radbill said it was "not surprising" that daily treatments also increased patients' risk for complications.
The needles used to gain access to the bloodstream are relatively large and frequent use raises the odds of complications such as clots and aneurysms, Radbill said. In turn, those complications may lead to burdensome surgeries or loss of the blood-access site altogether.
Still, despite these risks, large clinical trials have "suggested an improvement in self-reported health-related quality of life
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