WALTHAM, Mass.—While daytime dialysis treatments are a fact of life for thousands of people with kidney failure, a growing number of dialysis patients are discovering that dialyzing overnight lets them keep their days free for work, family or other activities.
Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) has established more than 140 in-center nocturnal, or nighttime, dialysis programs across the country, including recently opened programs in Weymouth, Mass.; Waco, Texas; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and Santa Fe, Calif. More are scheduled to open in 2013.
Dialysis is a life-sustaining process that cleans waste products from the blood and removes extra fluids when a person’s kidneys fail. Nighttime dialysis is an increasingly popular option that allows patients to receive treatments overnight, while sleeping or resting. FMCNA’s nighttime dialysis option offers the same level of supervised care as traditional daytime in-center treatments, except that patients receive their dialysis at night, usually over a longer period of time.
Most patients on traditional daytime in-center dialysis receive treatments three times a week for three to four hours at a time. In nighttime dialysis, patients typically receive treatments three times a week, but for about eight hours at a time. When dialysis is provided over a longer period, fluids are removed more slowly, which results in a more gentle treatment for most patients. Studies also suggest that nighttime dialysis patients may be able to better control their blood pressure and mineral levels, resulting in fewer dietary restrictions, which allows them to eat a wider variety of foods.
“In-center nocturnal dialysis is a viable alternative to standard in-center dialysis for patients who require greater fluid and phosphorus removal and who are amenable to spending three nights a week in the dialysis facility,” said Dr. Eduardo Lacson, Jr., FMCNA’s vice president for clinical science, epidemiology and research.
Lacson recently published a study that demonstrated health benefits, including improved clearance of phosphorus and fluid, in nearly 750 FMCNA patients who switched from daytime to nocturnal dialysis.
Hilton Mitchell, a 72-year-old dialysis patient in Kittery, Maine, has been pleased with his results since switching from daytime to overnight dialysis about a year ago.
"Nighttime dialysis has changed my life, because I feel better and have more energy,” Mitchell said. “It gives me more energy overall to fish, hunt and travel.”
For more information about nighttime dialysis, please call toll-free at 1-866-4-DIALYSIS (1-866-434-2597) or visit http://www.ultracare-dialysis.com/Treatment/InCenterDialysis/OvernightDialysis.aspx.