An estimated 20 Million Americans are living with some form of chronic kidney disease. Without functioning kidneys your blood slowly becomes toxic. The ideal solution is a transplant but while they wait, all patients go on dialysis. It's a life changing diagnosis but this blood filtering process is becoming less restrictive.
Marie Eidem says it all began with her feeling a little sluggish.
"I thought I might have had a couple heart issues going on but I had no idea there was a kidney thing!" Said Eidem.
What doctors found was acute kidney failure and now Marie needs machines to filter her blood. But instead of traveling for traditional hemodialysis, Marie can do everything at home thanks to Peritoneal Dialysis.
"It's a very interesting form of dialysis, instead of the kidney being the filter, instead of an artificial filter that we've made, it's the patient's abdominal lining their peritoneal membrane! Their own membrane that's not used as a filter that we can turn into a filter so it's kind of cool!" Said Dr. Robert Santella, a nephrologist with Avera Medical Group Nephrology.
Essentially PD dialysis fills the peritoneal cavity with dialysate fluid which gathers the body's waste products over a period of 8 hours and then it's flushed out. While it is a longer process than hemodialysis it is all done while Marie sleeps.
"I will probably hook up around 10pm and then it runs until 6:30 in the morning and once I hook up to my catheter I don't do anything except sleep and when it's done I get up and toss away the stuff and get ready for the next day!" Said Eidem.
Just looking around the room there is a lot of equipment with several tubes and boxes of solution. The process itself also can take some time to get used to.
"When I first started I used a book to ensure that I didn't miss a step or forget what to do next but now it's just second nature, I've been doing it long enough so I don't need the book." Said Eidem.
Marie lived a healthy lifestyle and doesn't drink or smoke, making her an ideal candidate for this process. Now traditional hemodialysis may work better for some patients and there is a home hemodialysis option for the right situation.
"That's a different set of patients depending on if they have a home helper and what their time constraints are so we can do both home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis." Said Dr. Santella.
There may be several steps to follow and plenty of disinfecting; but being able to do the treatments at home allows patients like Marie to function like they should and also maintain their independence.
"We want them to be in charge of their dialysis rather than the dialysis controlling their life." Said Kim Kock, a registered nurse with Avera Home Dialysis.
"It's great, doing the PD dialysis like I do is a huge advantage! I'm so grateful that somebody figured out how to do it because I live pretty much a normal life." Said Eidem.
The home dialysis technology has allowed the Eidem's to travel easily and Marie's healthy lifestyle also makes her a prime candidate for a kidney transplant; which she hopes is just around the corner. For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.