Submitted to: American Journal of Kidney Diseases
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/17/2012
Publication Date: 2/1/2013
Citation: Drew, D.A., Bhadelia, R., Tighiouart, H., Novak, V., Scott, T.M., Lou, K.V., Shaffi, K., Weiner, D.E., Sarnak, M.J. 2013. Anatomic brain disease in hemodialysis patients: a cross-sectional study. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. 61(2):271-278. Interpretive Summary: Dialysis patients are at high risk for stroke and for cognitive impairment. The objective of this work was to evaluate whether individuals receiving dialysis are also at risk for other forms of brain pathology. Using brain imaging, we found that dialysis patients had more brain atrophy, more abnormalities in underlying pathways connecting areas of the brain, and more blood vessel disease than do people who do not have end-stage kidney disease. These findings help us to understand why individuals with end-stage kidney disease are at higher risk for cognitive impairment.
Technical Abstract: Although dialysis patients are at high risk of stroke and have a high burden of cognitive impairment, there are few reports of anatomic brain findings in the hemodialysis population. Using magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, we compared the prevalence of brain abnormalities in hemodialysis patients with that in a control population without known kidney disease. The study was a Cross-sectional cohort of 45 maintenance hemodialysis patients and 67 controls without reported kidney disease, both without history of known stroke. The primary predictor was dialysis status. Covariates included demographics (age, race, and sex), vascular risk factors (diabetes and hypertension), and cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure). Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain features, including severity of white matter disease and cerebral atrophy (sulcal prominence and ventricular atrophy), hippocampal size, and small-/large-vessel infarcts. Semiquantitative scale (0-9 for white matter disease and cerebral atrophy, 0-3 for hippocampal size) and infarct prevalence. Mean ages of hemodialysis patients and controls were 55 ± 17 (SD) and 53 ± 13 years, respectively. In comparison to controls, hemodialysis patients had more severe white matter disease (1.6 vs 0.7) and cerebral atrophy (sulcal prominence, 2.3 vs 0.6; ventricular enlargement, 2.3 vs 0.9; hippocampal size, 1.3 vs 1.0), with all P < 0.001. In multivariable analyses, hemodialysis status was associated independently with worse white matter disease and atrophy grades. Hemodialysis patients also had a higher prevalence of small- (17.8%) and large- (7.8%) vessel infarcts than controls (combined, 22% vs 0%; P < 0.001). The dialysis cohort likely is healthier than the overall US hemodialysis population, partly limiting generalizability. Hemodialysis patients have more white matter disease and cerebral atrophy compared with controls without known kidney disease. Hemodialysis patients also have a high prevalence of unrecognized infarcts.