Vascular Access Conversation - IVUPDATE Podcast from IVTEAM

"Hemodialysis patients are followed by routine laboratory testing. There is uncertainty whether these tests always lead to a change in decision-making" Chidiac et al (2022).
Routine laboratory testing in hemodialysis


Background: Hemodialysis patients are followed by routine laboratory testing. There is uncertainty whether these tests always lead to a change in decision-making. This study aims to discover the number of yearly interventions/changes in prescription based on these tests and depict the group of patients who would benefit from reduced or increased laboratory blood tests.

Methods: This is a multi-center retrospective study that included patients on hemodialysis for more than one year. Laboratory data collected included yearly average of hemoglobin, urea reduction ratio (URR), serum phosphate, calcium, potassium, parathormone (PTH), ferritin and transferrin saturation (TSAT); changes in prescription of erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs), intravenous (IV) iron, alfacalcidol, phosphate binders and dialysis parameters were retrieved from medical records. A multivariate regression analysis assessed factors associated with high number of interventions.

Results: A total of 210 hemodialysis patients were included: 62.4% males, 47.1% diabetics. Their median age was 72 (62,78.5) years. Their laboratory parameters were within KDIGO targets. The median number of yearly interventions was 5 (3,7) for ESAs, 4 (2,6) for IV iron, 1 (0,2.25) for phosphate binders, 0 (0,1) for alfacalcidol. Based on the multivariate analysis, patients with higher ferritin, frequent changes in ESA, more changes in alfacalcidol and higher PTH had higher number of prescription’s changes in ESA, IV iron, phosphate binders and alfacalcidol respectively.

Conclusion: While maintaining KDIGO targets, therapeutic interventions following routine laboratory testing did not exceed six times yearly for all parameters. This suggests that a reduced testing frequency in hemodialysis patients is possible without any impact on quality of care. A personalized approach remains safe for hemodialysis patients while reducing the cost. This is very relevant in low-resource settings and during economic crises and needs to be evaluated in prospective studies.


Chidiac C, Chelala D, Nassar D, Beaini C, Azar H, Finianos S, Boueri C, Hawi J, Abdo I, Aoun M. Routine laboratory testing in hemodialysis: how frequently is it needed? BMC Nephrol. 2022 Oct 27;23(1):344. doi: 10.1186/s12882-022-02971-9. PMID: 36303122.