Abu Dhabi: Peritoneal dialysis, a form of dialysis for patients with kidney disease that can be undertaken at home, may offer a more convenient alternative than haemodialysis, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) has said.
Highlighting the benefits of peritoneal dialysis, Abu Dhabi’s public health provider, which runs Seha Kidney Care, said it can serve as an effective bridge to kidney transplantation for many patients.
“Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is not a new treatment, but there is a need for wider awareness of its benefits. As a patient-driven treatment, PD enables people to carry on with their lives while receiving the necessary therapy. Through measured steps, PD can be done at home by the patient themselves or a carer, and does not require frequent visits to a healthcare centre. This enables our patients to carry on with their lives and to live more comfortably. In addition to the convenience, it provides continuous dialysis, allowing patients to control extra fluid and some blood salts more easily while reducing stress on the heart and blood vessels compared with haemodialysis,” said Dr Ayman Al Madani, chief operations officer at Seha Kidney Care (SKC).
'Effective alternative to haemodialysis'
“With proper education and training, PD is a safe and effective alternative to haemodialysis. Ultimately, our goal is to improve our patients’ quality of life through offering treatments that can be more easily integrated into their lives and routines,” he added.
Haemodialysis is a way of replacing some of the functions of the kidney by using a machine to filter out and clean the blood. Blood is pumped out of the body via a tube in a blood vessel or needles put into a large vein, to the machine where it is passed filtered in an ‘artificial kidney’ or ‘dialyser’. This type of treatment often requires frequent and time-consuming visits to a hospital or clinic, typically three times a week.
Help at home
PD offers a different approach. A soft plastic tube, or catheter, is placed in the patient’s belly using surgery. A sterile cleansing fluid is then put into the catheter, which absorbs toxins from the blood. After the filtering process is finished, the fluid leaves the patient’s body through the catheter.
Kidney patients are frequently given haemodialysis to treat kidney, or renal failure and some patients are not even offered PD as an option. Haemodialysis, therefore, requires multiple weekly trips to a health centre and long hours of treatment. PD, on the other hand, can be done at home by the patient once a catheter has been fitted surgically.
Types of PD
There are two forms of PD available. The first is continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis or CAPD, a manual, machine-free option which is performed while the patient goes about their normal activities. The second is automated peritoneal dialysis or APD, which uses a machine or cycle to deliver and then drain a cleansing fluid. This is often done at night whilst the patient is sleeping.
The SKC team advises patients on the best treatment on a case-by-case basis. Experts added that PD is a good starting treatment as it is gentler for the body.
“When I was diagnosed with renal disease, I had to visit the clinic more than three times a week and spend hours there while the machine filtered my blood. Now, after making the decision to move to PD, I don’t have to plan my time around my appointments. I spend more time with my family and feel more in control of my life. I think all patients would make the shift to PD if they were educated on the options. I’m in a much better place now, thanks to the support of my doctors at SKC and their efforts in pointing me in the right direction,” said Mark Thomas, SKC patient.
“In alignment with Seha’s patient-centric approach to delivering the best health care, we remain committed to providing a consistent level of world-class services to kidney disease patients. We provide services to more than 1,300 patients suffering from kidney diseases across the emirate. Our patients continue to be at the centre of everything we do and we continue to focus on our mission to provide ethical, affordable and accessible kidney care services in Abu Dhabi, in line with international standards. While we would ideally like to offer a kidney transplant to all patients with renal failure, some patients may not be suitable for a transplant or may not have a living donor. While the number of deceased donors in the UAE is increasing, many people require dialysis to stay well,” said Professor Stephen Holt, chief executive officer at SKC.
In addition to dialysis, SKC, which operates three health centres and ten clinics, also assists patients to progress to transplantation as a way of cure.