There are very specific dangers associated with dialysis that can directly lead to a significantly increased death rate. It would be hard to find a Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patient who is on Dialysis that is not aware of the high risk of mortality they face. While it is true that death rates are much higher in ESRD patients than those of the larger population, and based on statistics the average life expectancy appears to be low (3-5 years), many people on dialysis in fact live long and happy lives (25+ years). Hence, you can reasonably hope for a good long life even without a donor kidney. This is why knowledge of these dangers and how to overcome them is critical.
Recommended Reading: Can a Person Live a Good Long Life on Dialysis?
First Use Syndrome: Unfortunately, some bodies don't react as well to Dialysis as others. "First Use Syndrome" is a severe reaction to Dialysis and its symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath, back pain, chest pain, or sudden death. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms after your first treatment tell your dialysis tech or call your doctor immediately as First Use Syndrome can cause sudden death.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRIs are important for CKD patients because they can see things that cannot be seen with an ordinary x-ray machine. Still, sometimes even an ordinary MRI is not enough and a special process is required to make abnormalities visible. A liquid, known as a "contrast agent" is injected into the blood stream. This creates contrast on the MRI picture which makes previously invisible abnormalities visible. In this case Dialysis patients do not remove the contrast agent fast enough and the toxic contrast agent can ultimately poison them. Also, Gadolinium is a rare metal which is used in some contrast agents. Recently, doctors have discovered that it has a rare and painful side effect known as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (a relatively new disease has been linked to the use of Gadolinium-based dyes used in MRIs).
Symptoms of the disease include high blood pressure, muscle weakness and thick hardened skin. With time victims may suffer pain, burning and itching in affected areas, stiffness in skin and joints which completely immobilizes them while some suffer death. Thus, you should talk to your Nephrologists about possible side effects and alternatives to using Gadolinium during your MRI exam.
Recommended Reading: The Fastest Growing Threat To The CKD Community Has Changed And Few Are Aware Of It
Bleeding: According to Dr. David Fowler, chief medical examiner of the state of Maryland, nearly two dozen kidney dialysis patients in Maryland bled to death during the period 2000-2007. The majority of the 22 deaths happened while patients were at home alone and started bleeding. An alert from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Office of Health Care Quality explains why this occurs. "For patients with kidney failure, mechanically cleansing the blood outside the body three times a week is the only way they can stay alive. However, the long-term access site needed to draw and return blood to the body can weaken and fail."
KidneyBuzz.com highly recommends that if you are alone and bleeding does not stop after applying direct pressure, immediately call 911. In non-emergency cases, if after 30 minutes of applying pressure the site keeps bleeding after you release pressure and reapply pressure then you should have someone drive you to the ER, or call 911.
Stopping Dialysis Treatment: According to the Renal Unit of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Scotland, "for patients already on dialysis, surveys in several countries have shown that stopping dialysis is quite a common cause of death." However, these are almost always people who have developed other serious illnesses after starting dialysis. Dialysis patients should be extremely cautious to avoid contracting additional diseases or illnesses that they are at an increased risk of because of their weak immune system. Also, be sure to maintain consistent appointments with your Nephrologists to catch any issue before it becomes severe.
Recommended Reading: Would you Stop Dialysis as an End Stage Renal Disease Patient?
Infection and Clotting: To avoid this issue you should clean your access before and after treatments and avoid sleeping on the arm of your access as this could cause clotting. If you have a catheter, keep the bandage dry because germs love dark, moist places.
Recommended Reading: Eliminating The Serious Concern Of Blood Clots For Those With Chronic Kidney Disease
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Bush, Rex. "Five Deadly Dangers of Dialysis." Http://ezinearticles.com/. EzineArticles.
"Living a Full Life after a Chronic Kidney Disease Diagnosis." Http://yourkidneys.com. Powered By DaVita.
Thadani, Rahul. "Kidney Dialysis Life Expectancy." Http://www.buzzle.com/. Buzzle.