Home dialysis: Life saving, but not life restricting

The doctor says you are a candidate for home dialysis and would like you to consider it. In-home dialysis provides many advantages to traditional outpatient dialysis treatments.

Treatment options for patients with kidney disease have dramatically expanded and improved over the last decade. For most patients, kidney transplantation remains the best choice for resumption of a normal lifestyle and its success rate has consistently improved with fewer complications. However, patients may face a three-to-five year waiting list and transplantation requires major surgery and the use of powerful medications to prevent rejection of the kidney transplant.

Almost 30-40% of patients with kidney failure are not healthy enough to receive a kidney transplant and turn to kidney dialysis to treat their kidney disease. Dialysis treatments remove the hundreds of toxins the kidneys would normally eliminate. Similar to kidney transplantation, choices and successes of dialysis have improved in recent years.

Brent Miller, MD, Washington University renal specialist, says “Two general types of home dialysis are available: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis purifies the blood directly. One or two needles are placed in a vein and a machine purifies the blood and then returns it to the patient.

Peritoneal dialysis utilizes the small capillaries in the lining of the peritoneum (abdomen) to purify the blood. A catheter is inserted into the abdomen underneath the muscle and fat once and left in place. Dialysis fluid is then instilled into this catheter, generally at night, and then removed several hours later after toxins are allowed to diffuse into the fluid.”

The advantages of home dialysis are multiple:

  • No need for travel to a dialysis center
  • Flexible treatment schedules
  • The ability to travel away from home easily
  • More natural elimination of toxins daily rather than only three times weekly
  • Control of one’s health care

Other medical benefits may include better blood pressure control, more energy, better appetite, and less hospitalization. The training time for home hemodialysis is about four weeks and for peritoneal dialysis is about four half days.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about home dialysis, please call 314 362-7603 for an appointment with Dr. Miller. Patients are seen at:

Center for Advance Medicine
Medicine Multispecialty Center
4921 Parkview Place, 5th Floor, Suite C