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JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Rationale and Strategies for Preserving Residual Kidney Function in Dialysis Patients

Tian Li, Christopher S Wilcox, Michael S Lipkowitz, Judit Gordon-Cappitelli, Serban Dragoi
American Journal of Nephrology 2019 October 18, : 1-11
31630148

BACKGROUND: Residual kidney function (RKF) conveys a survival benefit among dialysis patients, but the mechanism remains unclear. Improved volume control, clearance of protein-bound and middle molecules, reduced inflammation and preserved erythropoietin and vitamin D production are among the proposed mechanisms. Preservation of RKF requires techniques to measure it accurately to be able to uncover factors that accelerate its loss and interventions that preserve it and ultimately to individualize therapy. The average of renal creatinine and urea clearance provides a superior estimate of RKF in dialysis patients, when compared with daily urine volume. However, both involve the difficult task of obtaining an accurate 24-h urine sample.

SUMMARY: In this article, we first review the definition and measurement of RKF, including newly proposed markers such as serum levels of beta2-microglobulin, cystatin C and beta-trace protein. We then discuss the predictors of RKF loss in new dialysis patients. We review several strategies to preserve RKF such as renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system blockade, incremental dialysis, use of biocompatible membranes and ultrapure dialysate in hemodialysis (HD) patients, and use of biocompatible solutions in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients. Despite their generally adverse effects on renal function, aminoglycoside antibiotics have not been shown to have adverse effects on RKF in well-hydrated patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Presently, the roles of better blood pressure control, diuretic usage, diet, and dialysis modality on RKF remain to be clearly established. Key Messages: RKF is an important and favorable prognostic indicator of reduced morbidity, mortality, and higher quality of life in both PD an HD patients. Further investigation is warranted to uncover factors that protect or impair RKF. This should lead to improved quality of life and prolonged lifespan in patients with ESRD and cost-reduction through patient centeredness, individualized therapy, and precision medicine approaches.

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