Infections in hemodialysis: a concise review – Part 1: bacteremia and respiratory infections

Hippokratia 2011; 15 (1): 12-17

T. Eleftheriadis, V. Liakopoulos, K. Leivaditis, G. Antoniadi, I. Stefanidis


Hemodialysis (HD) patients are particularly predisposed to infections. It seems that the HD procedure per se as well as disturbances in both innate and adaptive immunity significantly contribute to this susceptibility. Infections are the major cause of morbidity and the second cause of death following cardiovascular events in HD patients. Episodes of bacteremia and pneumonia account for the majority of severe infections in this population. In addition to these bacterial infections another common problem in HD units is the blood transmitted viral infections, particularly infections caused by hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and Human immunodeficiency virus. A number of safety concerns exist for limiting the spread of these viral infections among HD patients and the staff of the unit. The aim of the present review is to present in a concise albeit practical form the difficult aspect of infections in HD. For practical reasons the review is separated in two parts. The present first part covers bacteremia and respiratory infections, while the second part will cover blood transmitted viral infections.