“From the patient’s perspective, there is a much improved quality of life,” said Dr. Craig Hurwitz, a Plattsburgh nephrologist. “But there is also a benefit to more dialysis (on a daily basis). Every time you try to get closer to what the real organ does, you’re going to have improvements.”
A typical dialysis session at the center will remove about three pounds of fluid from the patient, Hurwitz noted. Performing home hemodialysis on a daily basis removes about a pound of fluid in contrast.
“Home dialysis is not for everyone,” he added. “Everybody who comes for dialysis gets a choice (for which kind of dialysis the patient may prefer). There is a place for each form of dialysis.”
Peritoneal dialysis is also a home treatment that kidney patients have been using for decades. It’s a procedure that requires a catheter to be placed on a patient’s belly.
Fluid is placed in the patient’s abdomen during each treatment, and the fluid is then filtered by the peritoneal membrane inside the abdomen, replacing the function of the kidneys.
Filtered fluid is removed from the body and replaced by clean fluid throughout the procedure, which is often done during the night while a patient sleeps.
Hemodialysis involves pumping blood from the body through filters to remove impurities before returning to the body.
Stafford will complete three weeks of training at the Renal Center and will then begin home hemodialysis in earnest. He will also have to report to the clinic on a monthly basis to make sure everything is going smoothly.
The equipment, including the Nx Stage One filtering system, and training is covered by insurance, but the freedom it offers is priceless.
“We were not able to do much as a family,” said his wife, Daisy Stafford, who was also at the training session so she can assist in his treatments at home. “This will open so many opportunities for him.”