Am J Kidney Dis. 2021 Mar 23:S0272-6386(21)00001-9. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2020.11.024. Online ahead of print.
Since maintenance hemodialysis (HD) first became available in the United States in 1962, there has been tremendous growth in the population of patients with kidney failure. HD has become a routine treatment carried out in outpatient clinics, hospitals, nursing facilities, and in patients' homes. Although it is a complex procedure, HD is quite safe. Serious complications are uncommon due to the use of modern HD machines and water treatment systems as well as the development of strict protocols to monitor various aspects of the HD treatment. The practicing nephrologist must be knowledgeable about life-threatening complications that can occur during HD and be able to recognize, manage, and prevent them. This installment in the AJKD Core Curriculum in Nephrology reviews the pathogenesis, management, and prevention of 9 HD emergencies. The HD emergencies covered include dialyzer reactions, dialysis disequilibrium syndrome, uremic/dialysis-associated pericarditis, air embolism, venous needle dislodgement, vascular access hemorrhage, hemolysis, dialysis water contamination, and arrhythmia episodes.