Diastolic blood pressure is associated with brain atrophy in hemodialysis patients: A single center case–control study

Keren Cohen-Hagai, Feda Fanadka, Tania Grumberg, Guy Topaz, Naomi Nacasch, Meidad Greenberg, Tali Zitman-Gal, Sydney Benchetrit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain atrophy (BA) is often found in neuroimaging of hemodialysis patients, representing parenchymal cerebral damage. Likely contributing factors to BA are age, chronic hypertension, diabetes mellitus and other cardiovascular risk factors of atherosclerosis that are also common among hemodialysis patients. BA may also occur due to focal ischemia and hypoperfusion during hemodialysis. However, data on optimal blood pressure (BP) in these patients are limited. The goal of this study was to determine whether the prevalence and severity of BA would be higher among hemodialysis patients with lower BP. A blinded neuroradiologist graded BA of all hemodialysis patients who underwent brain non-contrast computerized tomography (CT) from 2015 to 2017 in our institution. Age- and sex-matched patients with normal kidney function who underwent brain CT during the same period and technique served as the control group. A total of 280 patients were included in this retrospective study, with average BP of 140/70 mmHg among hemodialysis patients and 142/75 mmHg in the control group. BA was more common in dialysis patients and its severity increased with age and traditional cardiovascular risk factors. We observed a significant negative correlation between diastolic BP (DBP) at dialysis initiation and BA. Average DBP decreased with increasing severity of BA. These findings were observed in both hemodialysis and non-CKD patients. BA was associated with lower DBP, which may induce cerebral hypoperfusion and ischemia. This finding should discourage over-treatment of hypertension among hemodialysis patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-102
Number of pages9
JournalTherapeutic Apheresis and Dialysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


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