Sudden cardiac death due to arrhythmia is the leading cause of death in end-stage renal
disease (ESRD) patients treated with hemodialysis (HD). As it is anticipated that the number
of individuals with ESRD will exceed 1.2 million in the next 20 years, sudden death in this
population has enormous public health impact. Research has shown that arrhythmic events are
temporally associated with longer periods between HD with a three-fold risk of events in the
12 hours preceding the longest inter-dialysis interval. The exact cause of these findings
The purpose of this study is to assess the degree of cardiac electrical instability at
various times in the dialysis cycle. The hypothesis is that longer time intervals between
hemodialysis results in sympathetic and electrolyte-induced alterations in ventricular
repolarization that can be measured non-invasively using microvolt T-wave alternans (TWA).
This increase in cardiac electrical instability may serve as a link between the clinically
observed periods of increased risk and the occurrence of sudden cardiac death.
- Patients with chronic ESRD who have been on HD for at least 3 months
- Subjects 18 to 90 years of age with one or more risk factors for coronary artery
disease or sudden cardiac death, including diabetes, peripheral vascular disease,
known coronary artery disease, or ejection fraction < 40% by any imaging modality.
- Subjects unwilling or unable to give written informed consent.
- Patients unable to return for regularly scheduled dialysis treatments
- Atrial fibrillation or flutter at screening
- Major surgical procedure two months prior to enrollment
- High grade heart block or a permanent pacemaker in situ
- Patients with known allergies to adhesive tape