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Nighttime Home Dialysis a Boon for Kidney Patients
Date:9/18/2007

Heart health, blood pressure and quality of life improve with frequent dialysis,,,,

TUESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Undergoing dialysis at home most nights of the week may be better for some kidney patients' health than conventional three-times-a-week dialysis, new research suggests.

In a six-month randomized trial comparing frequent nocturnal dialysis to standard dialysis therapy, researchers found that heart health, blood pressure and some measures of quality of life improved for those undergoing at-home dialysis five or six nights a week.

"We strongly believe that this type of dialysis should be offered as an option to every patient who develops kidney failure," said the study's lead author, Dr. Bruce Culleton, who was an associate professor at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, at the time of the study.

However, Culleton added that at-home therapy is probably a viable option for only about 10 percent to 20 percent of all kidney-failure patients, because it requires that the patients operate the dialysis machine themselves.

Results of Culleton's study are published in the Sept. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dialysis is a lifesaving procedure for people who have developed kidney failure. When the kidneys no longer function, or aren't functioning effectively enough to filter the blood well, a dialysis machine can be used to filter impurities from the blood. While dialysis isn't as effective as normally-functioning kidneys, it does remove a majority of waste and toxins from the blood. Still, dialysis patients have a high mortality rate. Each year, mortality rates exceed 15 percent, according to background information in the study.

Cardiovascular disease, including problems with the structure of the left ventricle of the heart, is often the cause of death, according to the study.

Previous research had suggested that fre
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