Home hemodialysis started in the early 1960s when dialysis treatments were not readily available to most people. For some patients it was the only way to receive life-sustaining dialysis treatments, but the equipment was large and difficult to use.
Home hemodialysis treatment peaked in the U.S. in the early 1970s and declined sharply during the following 20 years for a variety of reasons. These reasons included primitive technology, the introduction and rise in popularity of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) in the late 1970s, an increase in the age and number of end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients suffering from multiple illnesses, and changes in dialysis care funding by Medicare that favored in-center treatment.
Within the past fifteen years, there has been a revival of home hemodialysis in the U.S. The resurgence began in 1994 at the American Society of Nephrology meeting where it was reported that six patients were successfully treated through home hemodialysis via nighttime, (or nocturnal) treatments. It was reported that compared to in-center treatments, nocturnal treatments more effectively cleaned patients' blood. Momentum has continued to grow since then, with new advances in equipment technology giving patients a variety of safe and effective home hemodialysis treatment options.
Today, physicians continue to study the potential benefits of home hemodialysis versus other forms of dialysis care. Recent research shows that quality of life may be superior for patients who perform dialysis in their home, especially more frequent or extended dialysis. Benefits reported include: improvements in mental clarity, sexual function, sleep, energy, strength, and rehabilitation. Home hemodialysis also often results in better blood pressure control as well as reductions in thirst, pruritis, restless leg syndrome, fatigue, and depression.
How can you get more information?
For more information, you can call (800) 244-0582 to start talking to a DaVita at Home specialist about your treatment options. Learn more about the DaVita at Home program