Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Home dialysis options for patients with kidney failure

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Dialysis is a life-saver for patients with kidney failure.

Hemodialysis is what most associate with it, where patients come in three times a week for treatment for hours at a time. But, patients do have other options.

“I thought dialysis was going to be my life,” said Angie Kelley of Sioux Falls.

Kelley started dialysis a year ago.

“I was a bit nervous because I’ve heard that’s it’s a pretty big time commitment, that people don’t feel good while it’s happening, that they don’t feel good afterwards, that you have to go every other day but it takes that in-between day to recover,” said Kelley.

Kelley’s nephrologist told her she had other options – peritoneal dialysis being one of them, a type of home dialysis.

“So there’s a lining in your gut that has a lot of blood flow in it. So what we do is we put a catheter into that lining and we put clean fluid in. And while you’re sleeping, that’s where the cleaning happens,” said nephrologist Dr. Arvin Santos, medical director of Avera Dialysis.

Dr. Santos says peritoneal dialysis is less taxing on the body and it allows patients to live a more normal life.

“The life expectancy is actually the same for people on peritoneal dialysis and on in-center hemodialysis,” said Dr. Santos.

Dr. Santos says with home dialysis, you have to be accountable for your treatments and skipping is not an option.

“If you’re someone who doesn’t take care of themselves, then this might not be the option for you. But if you’re proactive with your health and you want to live your life, then this is the way to go,” said Dr. Santos.

Kelley says don’t be intimidated by the size of the machine or the tubes.

“It walks you through, pretty much step by step. If something’s wrong, it won’t let you go any further,” said Kelley.

“If you can cook an egg, if you can drive a tractor, you can do home dialysis. It’s that easy. A kidney doctor should explain to you all your options. And if this doesn’t work for you, then this doesn’t work for you, but at least you know there’s an option like this,” said Dr. Santos.

Kelley will continue to do home dialysis every day until she receives a kidney transplant.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.