Hypoglycemia and Mortality Risk in Incident Hemodialysis Patients

Duk Hee Kang, Elani Streja, Amy S. You, Yongkyu Lee, Yoko Narasaki, Silvina Torres, Alejandra Novoa-Vargas, Csaba P. Kovesdy, Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, Connie M. Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Hypoglycemia is a frequent occurrence in chronic kidney disease patients due to alterations in glucose and insulin metabolism. However, there are sparse data examining the predictors and clinical implications of hypoglycemia including mortality risk among incident hemodialysis patients. Design and Methods: Among 58,304 incident hemodialysis patients receiving care from a large national dialysis organization over 2007-2011, we examined clinical characteristics associated with risk of hypoglycemia, defined as a blood glucose concentration <70 mg/dL, in the first year of dialysis using expanded case-mix + laboratory logistic regression models. We then examined the association between hypoglycemia during the first year of dialysis with all-cause mortality using expanded case-mix + laboratory Cox models. Results: In the first year of dialysis, hypoglycemia was observed among 16.8% of diabetic and 6.9% of nondiabetic incident hemodialysis patients. In adjusted logistic regression models, clinical characteristics associated with hypoglycemia included younger age, female sex, African-American race, presence of a central venous catheter, lower residual renal function, and longer dialysis session length. In the overall cohort, patients who experienced hypoglycemia had a higher risk of all-cause mortality risk (reference: absence of hypoglycemia): adjusted hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) 1.08 (1.04, 1.13). In stratified analyses, hypoglycemia was also associated with higher mortality risk in the diabetic and nondiabetic subgroups: adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence interval's) 1.08 (1.04-1.13), and 1.17 (0.94-1.45), respectively. Conclusions: Hypoglycemia was a frequent occurrence among both diabetic and nondiabetic hemodialysis patients and was associated with a higher mortality risk. Further studies are needed to identify approaches that reduce hypoglycemia risk in the hemodialysis population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Renal Nutrition
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 National Kidney Foundation, Inc.


  • Diabetes
  • Glucose
  • Hemodialysis
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Mortality


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