1989 Volume 29 Issue 12 Pages 1125-1131
In neurosurgical patients with renal failure, dialysis entails specific problems, chief of which is increased intracranial pressure and progressive brain edema as a result of rapid lowering of the serum osmolality. Another major problem is a tendency to hemorrhage, in response to either systemic heparinization or insufficient dialysis. The authors describe the results obtained with hemodialysis (HD), continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration (CAVH), continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), continuous peritoneal dialysis (CPD), and intermittent peritoneal dialysis (IPD) . Nine patients were treated with HD, one with CAVH, five with CAPD or CPD, and two with IPD. Three of the six patients treated with continuous dialysis (CAVH, CAPD, and CPD) died, whereas intermittent dialysis (HD and IPD) carried an 82% mortality rate (nine of 11 patients). The causes of death were progressive brain edema in three cases, intracranial hemorrhage in three, gastrointestinal bleeding in three, overhydration due to insufficient dialysis in one, septicemia in one, and rupture of a cerebral aneurysm in one. Continuous dialysis appeared to be superior to intermittent dialysis in these neurosurgical patients in that it produced less brain edema and was less often associated with hemorrhage due to insufficient dialysis. In HD and CAVH, systemic heparinization was also thought to account for the high incidence of hemorrhage. However, CAVH with short half-life anticoagulants may be useful in patients who have abdominal complications and are therefore not suitable candidates for peritoneal dialysis.