Friday, 7 September 2018

Peritoneal Dialysis Still Not Used Enough

The two main types of dialysis are Hemodialysis, the original version, where a patient visits a clinic regularly and spends a long time hooked up to a machine and Peritoneal Dialysis which occurs overnight in the patients home, via a catheter inserted into the patient's abdomen. Peritoneal Dialysis is much more convenient for the patient, as it happens while they are asleep and doesn't require regular appointments at a clinic three times a week. So life becomes a bit less restricted for the patient. It's also cheaper.

But a report here points out that only a small percentage of patients use Peritoneal Dialysis! About 9 - 10% of patients in the US. In other countries that emphasize this option, the numbers are a lot higher - as many as 80% of kidney failure patients in Hong Kong are on Peritoneal Dialysis! In the UK the figures vary from region to region, as reported here and can be as high as 30% in adults and 56% in children.

So why so few in the US? It's been suggested that patients are not being advised to take this route and that clinicians claim there is not enough staff available who can train the patient to carry out the procedure at home. Of course, if care is geared towards expensive to set up dialysis clinics, would you expect these centres to recommend a cheaper alternative? Why are more patients not doing a bit of research before committing to Hemodialysis, which requires a lot of reorganising of their life and work? If you have just been diagnosed as needing dialysis or know someone who has, make an effort to check out the various methods available and make your own decision.

Even Medicare is trying to promote home dialysis, as reported here.