Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Home Dialysis May Ease Restless Legs Syndome

A recent report suggests that switching from treatment at a dialysis centre to treatment at home could be a solution to the lack of sleep problem encountered by some dialysis patients due to restless legs syndrome.

If you suffer from pins and needles or creepy-crawly feelings in your legs, then you may be suffering from restless leg syndrome; and if you are a dialysis patient, then you are about four times more likely to have this problem, and end up with sleepless nights. The patient is kept awake due to the legs twitching.

The continual sitting for prolonged periods during clinic based dialysis is one possible reason for dialysis patients suffering from this problem.

An investigation of patients who had home dialysis for a few hours each day showed improvements in restless leg syndrome and a lasting improvement in other sleep problems such as insomnia and daytime sleepiness.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Are Dialysis Patients X-rays a Risk?

A recent report from Italian researchers suggests that regularly x-raying dialysis patients to monitor their health is itself a health risk.

Marco Brambilla of Maggiore della Carità University Hospital in Novara, Italy said that the majority of routine x-rays to monitor a dialysis patients health gave no useful information. But the overall result for some patients was being exposed to the equivalent of 1000 chest scans a year! They followed 106 Italian dialysis patients' medical records over a three year period to come to this conclusion.

Many patients under went CAT scans (Computer Axial Tomography, to produce a 3-d image) and these can result in a dose of x-rays up to 100 times that of a standard x-ray. It was suggested that CAT scans are sometimes done without considering the cumulative risk or checking what other x-rays may have been given.

One of the problems is that increased exposure to x-rays is considered to be a cancer risk, and unless the process is properly recorded and monitored, the dose received over a long period of time can be quite high. The number of x-rays given while monitoring a patient's health varies from country to country, and some can be related to other health problems that a kidney failure patient may suffer. An earlier study (no reference available at present) suggested that about 2% of all cancers in the United States were caused by exposure to radiation during CAT scans.