A patient emailed KidneyBuzz.com and said, "My Nephrologist wants me to increase my Dialysis Treatment time by 30 minutes each treatment. I would really hate to spend longer on Dialysis. Will my quality of life improve substantially if I increase my time on Dialysis like he wants me to?" Well, according to a study published by Medscape Medical News from the American Society of Nephrology, "Increasing the hours of Hemodialysis each week does not affect quality of life..."
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This is an excellent question with which many Chronic Kidney Disease patients who conduct Dialysis must grapple. Dialysis patients should know that when Hemodialysis first came into use the duration was commonly three 8 hour sessions per week by the end of the 1960s. However, the growing number of patients who required Dialysis caused the time to be reduced to average three 4 hour sessions per week because of the shortage of equipment at the time, according to Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology.
Although successful Dialysis Cleaning targets are fulfilled in an increasing number of patients, observational studies show that individuals on Hemodialysis continue to experience a high rate of complications, including Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), heart complications, Heart Failure, Hyperphosphatemia (High Phosphorus), malnutrition (poor diet) and death. Hence, Nephrologists often suggest increasing time on Dialysis and/or frequency to help patients improve a number of these complications, especially the death rate.
Still, patients must balance improved health outcomes with their quality of lives such as time away from family, restricted freedom of mobility while on Dialysis, side effects after Dialysis Treatments, and enjoying their lives outside of Dialysis. Findings from a recent University Health Network study clearly highlighted the fact that extending time on Hemodialysis did improve Chronic Kidney Disease patients' health outcomes including: Better physical scores, higher levels of hemoglobin, decreased number of blood pressure medications, lower levels of potassium and phosphate, and reduced doses of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents (EPO).
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However, even with the improved health outcomes, the Lead Researcher, Dr. Christopher Chan, and his colleagues concluded that based on patient questionnaire evaluations throughout their study, there was "no correlation between extended Hemodialysis hours and quality-of-life measures." Researchers also noted that, "No significant serious adverse events occurred in either group (patients with standard time or extended Dialysis)," within the 12 month study period.
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