INDIANAPOLIS (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Kidney dialysis is a life-saving treatment for people who don't have functioning kidneys, but treatment means driving to and from a dialysis clinic three times a week … for life. Patients can skip trips to the clinic with a new home treatment -- one that’s even helping some patients get off the transplant list.
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Bill Doherty and his wife love to travel, but when Bill learned he had kidney disease, vacations stopped.
"Eventually, I had to start dialysis or die," Bill told Ivanhoe. "Those were the two alternatives, so I chose dialysis, not surprisingly."
But clinic dialysis -- treatment that removes the waste from your body -- wasn't working for Bill.
"You show up at that place three days a week, and that's just the way it is, and there aren't alternatives," Bill said. "It takes the whole day."
Nephrologists recently helped develop a new kidney dialysis machine that allows patients to have therapy at home or on the road.
"It weighs 75 pounds, which allows patients more portability," Michael Kraus, M.D., a nephrologist at Indiana University in Indianapolis, told Ivanhoe. "It's designed so it can be used everyday, so the patients feel better and do better."
Blood and fluid from the patient is run through the machine where it enters a filter. The filter removes extra salt, fluid and toxins from the blood. Then, the cleaned blood is pumped back into the patient. The whole process takes about two to two and a half hours for most patients.
"The dialysis process is simply removing the poisons that have built up over time that our kidneys normally remove," Dr. Kraus said.
The portable machine goes on planes, trains or cars, giving patients a new level of personal freedom.
"The story we always get is, 'Thank you. This has given me my life back," Dr. Kraus said
Bill's life and vacations are back. He feels so good, he took himself off the kidney transplant list.
"With this therapy, I feel perfectly healthy," Bill said. "I just wouldn't even consider a transplant now. This works for me."
Patients are trained to use the home dialysis machine in a few weeks. To find a training center near you, go to www.nxstage.com.