Haemolysis in haemodialysis

Dhakshayini Tharmaraj, Peter G. Kerr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Haemolysis in haemodialysis, although rare in current times, is associated with significant mortality and morbidity. As such prompt recognition, treatment, analysis of root cause and correction of underlying causative factors is crucial. Dialysate, extracorporeal circuit and patient related factors all contribute to haemolysis risk. Haemolysis can manifest with non-specific signs and symptoms including but not restricted to hypertension, nausea, pain (abdominal, chest, back) and dyspnoea. It may present acutely during the dialysis session or may take a protracted course. Potential life threating consequences include; hyperkalaemia induced cardiac arrhythmias, profound anaemia and associated acute coronary events and respiratory distress, and severe necrotizing pancreatitis. Chronic haemolysis results in impaired endothelial function thus contributing to the long-term cardiovascular risk profile in haemodialysis patients. Stringent national and international standards, technological advancements in membrane and dialysis equipment design, dialyser purification methods and water treatment systems have greatly reduced the incidence of haemolysis. Despite these improvements recognition of haemolysis risk and ongoing clinical vigilance is important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838-847
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • anemia
  • chloramine
  • hemodialysis
  • hemolysis
  • uremia

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