About Me

My photo
When I write, I whisper in silence.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Innovation For An Unfortunate Chronic Illness

An Artificial Kidney for those Who Have Failed Kidneys

Kidneys are necessary human organs, which is probably why humans have two of them, as they are balancing organs for our well being, from a physiological perspective. They remove toxins for the blood and maintain electrolyte balance in our bodies as well, to name a few of the many functions of these what are termed end or target organs that are dependent on our circulatory system as we are dependent on their optimal function for our existence.

While the process of dialysis has been improved over the past century or two, the first actual dialysis center was created by a man named Belding Scribner in the early 1960s. Rumor has it that he never patented his creation so more could have access to this vital procedure location with trained staff.

About ½ a million people are dependent on dialysis devices annually and the cost is completely covered by those with Medicare, as this cost for this treatment approaches or exceeds tens of billions of dollars a year for all of these types of patients. In fact, this is the only medical treatment that s completely financially covered chronic medical treatment by Medicare since the early 1970s. This cost is about a million dollars per patient per year. Hem dialysis is the most beneficial type of dialysis, which removes toxins from the blood of the patient over a period of a few hours about three or four times a week, with anemia being the most common complication of this treatment.

If there are patients who need financial assistance, there is a support group who fortunately have a web site that is: www.aakp.org that has helped more dialysis patients than other similar organizations financially.

While there are now about 5 thousand independent and hospital owned dialysis centers presently in the United States, there is also the possibility of home dialysis that are options as well, as determined by the dialysis patient’s doctor, who is a nephrologist, or kidney doctor.
Non for profit dialysis centers have been shown to have better quality than the for profit centers for a number of reasons- some of which are entirely known and unknown. This is important because monitoring of kidney failure patients is a great responsibility, as the average patient takes about 10 drugs routinely in addition to dialysis treatment and are chronically sick patients typically.

One reason for the large number of medications taken by these patients is due to the two primary causes of kidney failure, which are uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes. With high blood pressure, over time the kidneys become progressively impaired due to nephrosclerosis, which is nephritis that is caused, or causes, restricted blood flow and possibly toxins that aggravate this condition within the failing kidneys of these patients. With diabetes, most can discover the disease by detecting protein in the urine, which is a quite simple urine test. If uncontrolled, diabetic nephropathy develops and progresses to the point of kidney failure. Most dialysis patients are there because of diabetes related effects from under treatment or absence of treatment.

How it is determined regarding the damage of the kidneys of such patients is measured by the suspected kidney impaired patient by their GFR- gloumular filtration rate, which measures their fluid output of these patients. If a patient reaches a GFR of stage5, they usually are placed on dialysis for life support, essentially.

For unclear reasons, the larger the size of a dialysis center, the better patient compliance will be experienced, which means more patients show up for treatment and follow directed protocol regarding their illness.

In addition, nephrology staff members of such centers, which include nephrology nurses, have increasingly greater responsibility. Such courageous and skilled people freely accept rather challenging professions that some are reluctant to challenge themselves in such a way. There is actually an American Nephrology Nurses Association. And there is a dialysis museum in Wisconsin called something close to Dialysis Central.

Aggressively treating dialysis patients is controversial. One issue is those patients with CV disease, as overly aggressive dialysis treatment has been correlated with premature death.
Technology and quality of life continues to improve for these patients, yet an artificial kidney would be great, once developed. This has not become available yet.

So, if you are a health care professional who wishes to challenge themselves and gain the confidence of nephrologists. I would suggest involvement with such a devastating disease that relies on quality and compassionate staff for their livelihood and appropriate treatment. Of course, this means dealing with the stress of treating kidney failure patients.

“Only those who risk going too far with deliberate intent can possibly discover how far they can actually go.” --- T.S. Elliott

Dan Abshear

No comments: