International Urology and Nephrology

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 971–982 | Cite as

Sudden cardiac death in CKD patients

  • Beata Franczyk-Skóra
  • Anna Gluba-BrzózkaEmail author
  • Jerzy Krzysztof Wranicz
  • Maciej Banach
  • Robert Olszewski
  • Jacek Rysz
Nephrology - Review


The risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) is high in chronic kidney disease patients, and it increases with the progression of kidney function deterioration. The most common causes of SDC are the following: ventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachyarrhythmia, tachycardia torsade de pointes, sustained ventricular fibrillation and bradyarrhythmia. Dialysis influences cardiovascular system and results in hemodynamic disturbances as well as electrolyte shifts altering myocardial electrophysiology. Studies suggest that this procedure exerts both detrimental (poor volume control can exacerbate hypertension and left ventricle hypertrophy) and beneficial effects (associated with fluid removal and subsequent decrease in left ventricle stretch). Dialysis-related vulnerability to serious arrhythmias is the result of sudden shifts in fluid status and electrolytes, particularly potassium, which alter the physiological milieu. Also Ca2+ ions, in which concentration alters during dialysis, are of key importance in the contraction of vascular smooth muscle cells and cardiac myocytes, thus exerting significant effects on hemodynamics. Due to the fact that SCD occurs with similar frequency in peritoneal dialysis and in hemodialysis patients, it seems that end-stage renal disease factors are more important than the specific ones associated with dialysis type. The results of randomized trials suggested that hemodialysis patients may not derive the same benefit of cardiovascular disease therapy including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors as the general population with normal kidney function. Noninvasive tests used to stratify SCD risk in HD patients have poor positive value, and thus, combining tests including HRV, baroreceptor sensitivity and effectiveness index as well as its function indices and heart rate turbulence should be implemented. There are only few large randomized placebo-controlled trials assessing the influence of cardioprotective medications or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implantation in dialysis patients on life quality and survival, and their results are sometimes contradictory. The decision concerning treatment and/or ICD implantation in this group of patients should be made on the basis of careful assessment of individual risk factors. Moreover, due to the high hazard of cardiovascular mortality including SCD in dialysis patients, physicians should concentrate on the early selection of high-risk patients, monitoring them and introduction of preventive measures.


Sudden cardiac death Chronic kidney disease Risk factors Treatment 


Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beata Franczyk-Skóra
    • 1
  • Anna Gluba-Brzózka
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Jerzy Krzysztof Wranicz
    • 2
  • Maciej Banach
    • 3
    • 4
  • Robert Olszewski
    • 5
  • Jacek Rysz
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Nephrology, Hypertension and Family MedicineWAM University HospitalLodzPoland
  2. 2.Chair of Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, Department of ElectrocardiologyWAM University HospitalLodzPoland
  3. 3.Department of NephrologyMedical University of LodzLodzPoland
  4. 4.Healthy Aging Research CenterMedical University of LodzLodzPoland
  5. 5.Department of Cardiology and Internal MedicineMilitary Medical InstituteWarsawPoland

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