Effect of lowering the dialysate temperature in chronic hemodialysis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Reem A. Mustafa, Fadi Bdair, Elie A. Akl, Amit X. Garg, Heather Thiessen-Philbrook, Hassan Salameh, Sood Kisra, Gihad Nesrallah, Ahmad Al-Jaishi, Parth Patel, Payal Patel, Ahmad A. Mustafa, Holger J. Schünemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives Lowering the dialysate temperature may improve outcomes for patients undergoing chronic hemodialysis. We reviewed the reported benefits and harms of lower temperature dialysis. Design, setting, participants, & measurements We searched the Cochrane Central Register, OVID MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Pubmed until April 15, 2015. We reviewed the reference lists of relevant reviews, registered trials, and relevant conference proceedings. We included all randomized, controlled trials that evaluated the effect of reduced temperature dialysis versus standard temperature dialysis in adult patients receiving chronic hemodialysis. We followed the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach to assess confidence in the estimates of effect (i.e., the quality of evidence).We conductedmeta-analyses using random effects models. Results Twenty-six trials were included, consisting of a total of 484 patients. Compared with standard temperature dialysis, reduced temperature dialysis significantly reduced the rate of intradialytic hypotension by 70% (95% confidence interval, 49% to 89%) and significantly increased intradialytic mean arterial pressure by 12 mmHg (95% confidence interval, 8 to 16 mmHg). Symptoms of discomfort occurred 2.95 (95% confidence interval, 0.88 to 9.82) timesmore often with reduced temperature compared with standard temperature dialysis. The effect on dialysis adequacy was not significantly different, with a Kt/V mean difference of 20.05 (95% confidence interval, 20.09 to 0.01). Small sample sizes, loss to follow-up, and a lack of appropriate blinding in some trials reduced confidence in the estimates of effect. None of the trials reported long-term outcomes. Conclusions In patients receiving chronic hemodialysis, reduced temperature dialysis may reduce the rate of intradialytic hypotension and increase intradialytic mean arterial pressure. High–quality, large, multicenter, randomized trials are needed to determine whether reduced temperature dialysis affects patient mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-457
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 7 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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