Home Dialysis Was More Effective Than In-Center Treatments

Frequent hemodialysis at home may increase kidney patient survival more than standard treatment in a medical center

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Patients with failing kidneys often choose to undergo dialysis treatments. New research suggests that the type of dialysis they choose may affect their chance of survival.

A new study looked at home versus in-center dialysis treatments. Dialysis treatments are used to filter the blood — a main function of the kidneys — after kidney damage.

The researchers found that frequent dialysis at home prolonged the survival of patients with kidney disease more than in-center treatments. However, less frequent home dialysis had much poorer outcomes.

The authors of the study also noted that frequent home dialysis is often more convenient and more affordable than in-center dialysis.

Austin G. Stack, MD, of University Hospital Limerick in Ireland, led the study. The study compared both the location of the dialysis and the type of dialysis used.

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) involves a small tube (catheter) surgically placed inside the patient's body. The patient's blood is filtered through the catheter. PD can be done at home or even at work. Hemodialysis (HD) uses an external, artificial kidney that filters the blood. Patients either receive HD at home or in a treatment center.

Using data from more than 585,000 dialysis patients, Dr. Stack and team determined how many died during a five-year period starting in 2005. They also looked at what kind of dialysis the patients used.

The study authors found that patients receiving home HD six times a week were 26 percent less likely to die than patients receiving standard HD in a center. However, patients receiving home HD three times a week had a 47 percent higher risk of death than patients getting in-center HD.

Patients receiving PD had a 10 percent lower risk of death than patients receiving in-center HD three times per week.

The authors concluded that home HD six times per week and PD were the most effective dialysis treatments for patients with kidney disease.

“Such an approach may offer superior survival, better quality of life, and be cost effective for national health care systems,” Dr. Stack said in a press statement.

The study was presented Nov. 15 at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2014 in Philadelphia. Research presented at conferences may not have been peer-reviewed.

The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
November 14, 2014
Last Updated:
November 17, 2014