Background: Fluid overload in patients on conventional hemodialysis is a frequent complication, associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The dialysate sodium prescription is a potential modifiable risk factor. Our primary objective was to describe associations between dialysate-to-serum sodium gradient and parameters of fluid status. A secondary objective was to evaluate the 6-month risk of hospitalization and mortality in relation to sodium gradient. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of 110 prevalent conventional hemodialysis patients at a single center. The associations of sodium gradient with interdialytic weight gain index (IDWG%), ultrafiltration (UF) rate, and blood pressure (BP) were analyzed. Results: The mean serum sodium gradient was 4.6 ± 3.6 mEq/L. There was a direct correlation between sodium gradient and IDWG% (r = 0.48, p < 0.01) as well as UF rate (r = 0.44, p < 0.01). In a logistic regression model, a 1 mEq/L higher sodium gradient was associated with increased risk of IDWG% >3% (OR 1.33, p < 0.01) and increased risk of UF rate >10 mL/kg/h (OR 1.16, p = 0.03), but there were no associations with intradialytic hypotension, intradialytic hypertension or BP. No significant differences were found with 6-month hospitalization or mortality risk in relation to sodium gradient. Conclusion: A higher sodium gradient was associated with significant increases in IDWG and UF rates, known to be associated with poor outcomes, but was not associated with intradialytic hypotension. Individualizing the dialysate sodium prescription to minimize sodium gap may lead to less fluid overload in conventional hemodialysis patients.

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