Innovative nocturnal dialysis now available in South Africa

Kidney disease sufferers win back their daylight hours

Thursday, July 5 2012

Until now patients with kidney failure have had to undergo three four-hour dialysis treatment sessions per week, generally during working hours. Taking time away from work for several hours every week can be most disruptive, particularly when one has to earn a living.

This is one of the reasons why National Renal Care (NRC), South Africa’s largest private dialysis therapy provider and a joint venture between Netcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care, has introduced a ground-breaking new nocturnal or overnight, dialysis programme. Nocturnal dialysis has many benefits, not least of which is convenience for patients as it enables them to be treated during their leisure hours and while sleeping, minimising the impact on their work, says Noeleen Phillipson, Chief Executive Officer of NRC.

“Going for haemodialysis at night frees patients up during the day, allowing them to be more productive, working, attending school or university and sharing in family activities,” she observes. “Individuals who receive overnight dialysis generally experience an improved quality of life. While it is not necessarily suitable for everyone, it is proving popular among those who benefit from it health wise and who would like to get the most out of each day.”

While haemodialysis is usually undertaken over a four-hour period, overnight dialysis is performed over a period of eight hours, with a slower blood and dialysate flow rate. The slower flow rate tends to have a less severe effect on the vascular system and patients report feeling stronger and less tired after undergoing this type of dialysis than they do after haemodialysis.
“Another important advantage of the overnight procedure is that it usually removes more toxins and fluids from the blood than the traditional form of therapy,” points out Phillipson. “This has benefits for the overall health of the patient and many experience an improved sense of well-being. A study published in the Journal of Nephrology indicates that those undergoing the treatment actually have an improved survival rate. In addition, research has shown a clear reduction in medication usage for these patients.”

“Patients arrive at the nocturnal dialysis centres at 19h00, three evenings a week,” says Phillipson. “Our expert staff are on hand to weigh them, take their blood pressure and temperature and conduct observations to check their clinical status before the dialysis therapy is started. Patients are also closely monitored by staff throughout the treatment process. We encourage our patients to make themselves at home. They can bring dinner, watch television, read a book, and listen to music or bond with staff and other patients. Lights out is around 23h00 and they usually rest throughout the night until morning.”

Overnight haemodialysis is currently offered at NRC centres situated in Greenacres, Port Elizabeth, at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg and at Netcare Umhlanga Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. A fourth nocturnal dialysis facility will be available at Netcare Garden City Hospital in Mayfair West, Johannesburg towards the end of the year.
“Many patients will be greatly relieved to learn that there is now an alternative to spending their days undergoing dialysis,” notes Phillipson. “At NRC we believe kidney disease need not dominate the lives of those individuals who suffer from it, and we will continue to find innovative ways to serve our patients so that they can live their lives to the fullest.”



Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of National Renal Care
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney or Clemmy Eccles
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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