Introduction: Classic hemodialysis schedules present inadequate middle-molecular-weight toxin clearance due to limitations of membrane-based separation processes. Accumulation of uremic retention solutes may result in specific symptoms (e.g., pruritus) and may affect clinical outcome and patient’s quality of life. Hemoperfusion (HP) is a blood purification modality based on adsorption that can overcome such limitations, and thus, it may be interesting to test the efficacy of at least one session per week of HP combined with hemodialysis. This is a randomized, open-label trial, controlled, multicenter clinical study to investigate the effect of long-term HP combined with hemodialysis on middle-molecular-weight toxins and uremic pruritus in maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients. Methods: 438 MHD patients from 37 HD centers in China with end-stage kidney disease (63.9% males, mean age 51 years) suffering from chronic intractable pruritus were enrolled in the study. Eligible patients were randomized into four groups: low-flux hemodialysis (LFHD), high-flux hemodialysis (HFHD), HP + LFHD, and HP + HFHD at a 1:1:1:1 ratio. Beta-2 microglobulin (β2M) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) were measured at baseline, 3–6, and 12 months. At the same time points, the pruritus score was evaluated. The primary outcome was the reduction of β2M and PTH, while the secondary outcome was the reduction of the pruritus score. Results: In the two groups HP + LFHD and HP + HFHD, there was a significant decrease of β2M and PTH levels after 12 months compared to the control groups. No significant differences were noted between HP + LFHD and HP + HFHD. Pruritus score reduction was 63% in the HP + LFHD group and 51% in the HP + HFHD group, respectively. Conclusion: The long-term HP + HD can reduce β2M and PTH levels and improve pruritus in MHD patients independently on the use of high- or low-flux dialyzers, showing that the results are linked to the effect of adsorption.

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