Friday, January 14, 2011
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Hemodialysis — a type of dialysis in which blood passes from the body through a machine that filters the blood and then returns it to the body — can now be done in patients' homes.
The January issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers this option and why it's an attractive alternative to center-based dialysis.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans rely on dialysis to help manage end-stage kidney disease, when the kidneys are unable to remove enough waste products and fluid. Most people travel to a clinic three times a week for the three- to five-hour filtering process. With travel time and the fatigue that's common with treatment, a dialysis session can take most of the day.
A growing number of medical centers are helping their patients set up home dialysis units. Home hemodialysis can be done more often, at convenient times and even during sleep.
There's evidence that home dialysis leads to better results. Patients report significant improvement in overall well-being, heart function and sleeping patterns when dialysis is done more frequently at home, either during the day or during sleep. Patients also report having more energy, sleeping better and feeling less nauseous.
Studies have consistently shown that daily dialysis six times a week or nightly dialysis three to six times a week leads to fewer hospitalizations and a reduction in the number of medications needed.
Home dialysis isn't for everyone and requires having another person at home to help. And home machines require some training. While the machines are designed to be user-friendly, it may take weeks to months of preparation before a patient is ready to administer dialysis at home.
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