Avera Medical Minute ASM: Dialysis in Pierre keeping patients with kidney disease closer to home

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Dialysis allows patients with kidney disease to live better. Although nothing can completely replace the function of a human kidney, dialysis is a patient’s next best option for maintaining life and health.

“Diabetes doesn’t necessarily lead to kidney failure but in my case, it did,” said Liana Champagne of Highmore.

Champagne has been on dialysis since January of this year. It’s become just another part of her life.

“Three times a week and I’m here for three and a half hours every time. I come in Tuesday, Thursday and Friday,” said Champagne.

Champagne says she is thankful for dialysis at Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre.

“Pierre is centrally located for a lot of us, so it’s a quick drive,” said Champagne.

“People will be on dialysis for years,” said Tina Harrowa, dialysis manager at Avera St. Mary’s.

Harrowa says for many patients with kidney failure, dialysis is their lifeline.

“We take the patient’s blood and it runs through this filter. And the outside of these fibers is where the blood is filled with dialysate, and as the blood passes through there and passes the dialysate, it’s removing the extra fluid from the blood stream and also the waste products,” said Harrowa.

Harrowa says having dialysis services available in Pierre means patients don’t have to travel as far for treatments.

“Depending on which direction you might go from Pierre, the next closest dialysis unit would be 60 to 100 miles away and these people are scheduled three times a week every week. A lot of our patients drive at least an hour to get here but we’re the closest unit,” said Harrowa.

Champagne tries to look at dialysis as a positive experience.

“I’m hoping for a transplant at some point but until then, I’m working toward that, there’s things I have to do – just make the most of it because that’s your life and you’re living it so that’s a good thing,” said Champagne.

The two main cause of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. Harrowa says it’s important to know your numbers and work to keep them under control.

For more information, visit avera.org