Chronic Kidney Disease Patients On Dialysis Who Undergo CPR Experience Worse Survival Outcomes

Suddenly, a Chronic Kidney Disease patient who conducts Dialysis is rushed to the hospital with chest pain. The Dialysis patient then begins to have a Heart Attack and immediately is given the lifesaving technique, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), by Medical Professionals. In most cases this would be the right thing to do. However, a new study suggested otherwise for those with Chronic Kidney Disease who are conducting Dialysis.   

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CPR is used to help keep oxygenated blood circulate in the body, which can help prevent brain, organ damage and death during emergencies in which someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped (heart attack or near drowning). The procedure consists of Chest Compressions (forceful pressing on the chest to stimulate the heart) and Artificial Respiration (mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing). Typically, without CPR a person in need will become unconscious almost immediately and will die in 5 to 10 minutes.

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CPR may also prolong the dying process. For instance, Dialysis patients not only "faced a higher incidence of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)," but also, "had far worse long-term survival afterward," according to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Prior studies have noted that fewer than 10% of Dialysis patients in the hospital who have had CPR survive and are able to function the same. "Many patients live for a short time after CPR, but still die in the hospital," said

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The immediate physical effects of CPR often include sore chest, broken ribs or a collapsed lung. Also, some patients who survive may need to be on a breathing machine to help them breathe for a while after they receive CPR.

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Hence, this technique may not be a true lifesaving option for those on Dialysis. More specifically, the proportion of patients who survived up to 1 year after receiving CPR was less than a third (31.3%), and about two-thirds were readmitted at least once.

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Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of death among those with Chronic Kidney Disease on Dialysis. Hence, patients should do their best to maintain their heart health by considering adopting the following habits: 

  • Try to keep saturated fat to no more than 10 percent of your daily calories or less (red meat, dairy products, etc.).
  • Attempt to limit trans fat from your diet altogether (deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, packaged snack foods, margarines and crackers).
  • Conduct light exercise as possible (click here for suggestions).
  • Manage blood pressure levels the best you can. 

It is also important for those conducting Dialysis to discuss with their family members and Nephrologists about end of life care before the need arises. According to Researchers, "Most patients receiving Dialysis have not completed an Advance Directive or shared their end-of-life care preferences with their physicians, and patients are more likely to receive aggressive care when they do not have treatment-limiting directives in place." Make sure that you get the kind of end of life care which you desire by discussing an Advanced Directive with your Healthcare Team.

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