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Hope of Home Dialysis

Published: February 11, 2009

We recently heard from Harvey Wells, who was settled in an RV campground in Florida and anticipating cooking ribs for his daughter later that day. Like others in his generation, Wells spends as much time as possible with friends and family, including the grandchildren who live several states east of his Texas home. Last summer he and the kids made a 12,500-mile cross-country trek in his RV. Now, they were get¬ting together again to celebrate the Christmas season.

Wells wants Post readers to know about his experience with an innovative medical device that travels wherever he does. He has kidney failure and needs regular dialysis treatments to filter his blood of impurities —a procedure that he performs at home (or, often, in his RV) with the NxStage System One.

Wells says he was initially attracted to the freedom and flexibility of performing daily dialysis at home versus going to a specialized treatment center three times per week.

“The flexibility is a huge plus,” he explains, adding, “but to me, the real advantage is the health benefits. I call it ‘the miracle machine.’ I have more energy, and my blood pressure is stabilized.”

Research supports Wells’ observations. Experts say that frequent dialysis therapy allows the machine to function more like a natural kidney, resulting in treatments that are gentler on the body. Interim findings from the FREEDOM (Following Rehabilitation, Economics, and Everyday Dialysis Outcome Measurements) study reveal fewer symptoms of depression; a quicker return to normal activity; and improvements in physical ability to complete daily activities, general health, and energy after four months of daily home therapy. Preliminary data on nightly treatments (three to six nights per week) are also promising. Dialyzing at night allows for a slower flow rate that may re¬move more wastes than the shorter treatments and also frees up daytime hours for other activities.

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