Acute Hypercapnic Respiratory Failure Associated With Hemodialysis

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Patients undergoing hemodialysis are subject to recurrent acid-base perturbations. Prior to each dialysis treatment, they are relatively acidemic, which is corrected rapidly during dialysis. We report a patient with obesity, obstructive lung disease, and pneumonia who developed acute respiratory failure triggered by an infl ux of high bicarbonate during dialysis. This case emphasizes that in patients with severely compromised respiratory reserve, a large amount of bicarbonate infl ux during hemodialysis may cause acute CO 2 accumulation and ventilatory distress. An individualized approach with judicious adjustment of the dialysate bicarbonate concentration may be necessary.