Back to Journals » International Journal of Nephrology and Renovascular Disease » Volume 12

Dialysis disequilibrium syndrome prevention and management

Authors Mistry K

Received 10 January 2019

Accepted for publication 26 February 2019

Published 30 April 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 69—77

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJNRD.S165925

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Pravin Singhal


Kirtida Mistry

Division of Nephrology, Children’s National Health System, Washington, DC 20010, USA

Abstract: The dialysis disequilibrium syndrome (DDS) is a clinical constellation of neurologic symptoms and signs occurring during or shortly following dialysis, especially when dialysis is first initiated. It is a diagnosis of exclusion occurring in those that are uremic and hyperosmolar, in whom rapid correction with renal replacement therapy leads to cerebral edema and raised intracranial pressure with resultant clinical neurologic manifestations. DDS is most commonly described in association with hemodialysis but can occur in patients with acute kidney injury requiring continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT). To date, it has not been described in association with peritoneal dialysis. The syndrome is uncommon and becoming rarer, so performing randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effectiveness of potential therapies is almost impossible. This also makes studying the pathophysiology in humans challenging. It is associated with mortality but is also preventable, so identification of patients at risk, preventive measures, early recognition and prompt management of DDS will minimize morbidity and mortality associated with this syndrome. While the focus of this review is the prevention and management of DDS, there will be an emphasis on what is known about the pathophysiology because it strongly impacts the prevention and management strategies.

Keywords: dialysis disequilibrium syndrome, hemodialysis, continuous renal replacement therapy, CRRT, reverse urea, idiogenic osmoles, cerebral edema


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