Seldom Used Dialysis Treatment Strategy - "Transitioning" May Help Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

A viewer emailed recently and wrote, "I am currently on Hemodialysis, in clinic. I am gonna look into PD next week. Do you have any suggestions about transitioning between different Dialysis Treatments?" 

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This is a good question because many who may struggle on Hemodialysis or with Peritoneal Dialysis may consider transitioning to the alternative treatment option as "too much of a hassle" or may be concerned that it may negatively impact their overall health. You should know that there have been some studies that highlight the life extending merits of starting with  Peritoneal Dialysis which has the lowest death rate after 2 years, and then transitioning to Hemodialysis because it offers lower rates of infection and complications in the long-term. 

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In general, however, Dialysis patients should consider a variety of treatment options to best suit their lifestyle. If you experience personal or health changes and find that another Dialysis modality (type of treatment) may be more suitable for YOU then you should not be afraid to transition to other modalities such as In-Center Hemodialysis, Home Hemodialysis or Peritoneal Dialysis.

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A few key questions you should consider before switching include: How will this new treatment affect my lifestyle (travel, eating habits, types of clothes you like to wear, etc.)? Can I adjust my daily schedule to abide by the treatment's necessary time constraints (short daily treatments versus longer treatments every-other-day)? Will this modality provide me with a good enough Dialysis cleaning? Am I equipped to make an adjustment at this type of treatment (space in your house, sanitization, transportation as necessary, having a caretaker if necessary, etc.)?

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General differences between modalities are that with Peritoneal Dialysis those with Chronic Kidney Disease do not have to travel back and forth to a dialysis center except for once a month to visit their Healthcare Team which allows them much more freedom to travel. Similarly, Chronic Kidney Disease patients are offered more freedom with Home Hemodialysis treatments because they are allowed a more liberal fluid intake and overall diet as compared to other treatment options.

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The majority of Dialysis patients, however, conduct In-Center Hemodialysis and this is likely due to the fact that all a patient must do is get to Dialysis and a Nurse with a full staff will administer treatment from the beginning to the end of their session. The Large Dialysis Provider, DaVita Inc. notes, "Switching dialysis treatments may help you improve your health as well as quality of life." 

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"Switching Dialysis Treatment." Http:// DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.

"New Modality of Dialysis Therapy: Peritoneal Dialysis First and Transition to Home Hemodialysis."Http:// National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. 

"PD First: Peritoneal Dialysis as the Default Transition to Dialysis Therapy." Http://