A Current Form Of Dialysis Newly Found To Improve Kidney Health And Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease

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While a small minority of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients on dialysis conduct Nocturnal Dialysis (Long nightly hemodialysis done 6-8 hours while sleeping), studies have shown that it is more effective than other forms of dialysis. Nocturnal Dialysis provides a significant increase in both small and large molecular weight clearance, often alleviates the need to take phosphate binders and other medications, improves sleep apnea, and increases the effectiveness of overall dialysis treatments. However, a new Canadian Cardiovascular Congress study may cause current dialysis patients to reconsider switching to Nocturnal Dialysis as according to findings, receiving dialysis at home while sleeping not only improves kidney health and quality of life for people with CKD, it could also decrease their risk of heart disease. 

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The study found that after patients transitioned to overnight dialysis, there were improvements in coronary artery function. This is important because CKD patients have an impaired ability to properly dilate their blood vessels (endothelial), putting them at more than a five-fold increased risk for the buildup of fat in the walls of their arteries (atherosclerosis) and Cardiovascular Complications which can eventually lead to serious problems including heart attacks, stroke or even death. Dr. Christopher Overgaard, one of the study's authors and a Cardiologist at the Toronto General Hospital said that "Longer dialysis, done while patients are sleeping, may improve the health of arteries and could lower the risk of developing heart disease."

Recommended Reading: Many with CKD die from Cardiovascular Disease instead of Kidney Disease

Overnight hemodialysis is conducted six times a week for up to 12 hours at a time for as much as 72 hours per week. The frequency and duration of overnight dialysis is the main reason that it is so effective. Toxins in CKD patient's body are more evenly and gently removed from their blood which result in less toxin buildup for shorter periods of time than other traditional dialysis methods. 

Recommended Reading: Nocturnal Hemodialysis May Offer Best Value for Health Outcomes

Some suggest that Nocturnal Dialysis improves the quality of life for people with CKD by having dialysis in the "comfort of your home, while sleeping, instead of being stuck in a dialysis unit for hours." Though the benefits of Nocturnal Dialysis have often been touted by others, KidneyBuzz.com remains neutral and does not recommend one treatment for late stage CKD over another. However if you find the benefits that now include reducing the risk of heart disease to be enticing, then KidneyBuzz.com encourages you to talk to your Nephrologist about switching treatments.  

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References: 

"Overnight Dialysis Boosts Kidney Health—while Reducing Risk of Heart Disease." Medical Xpress. Canadian Cardiovascular Congress

"Nocturnal Hemodialysis." Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health

"Short Daily and Nocturnal Hemodialysis: New Therapies for a New Century?"Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health