Peritoneal dialysis: Hope for kidney patients

Peritoneal dialysis: Hope for kidney patients
New Delhi: For millions of people suffering from kidney failure there seems to be a hope in sight with peritoneal dialysis, which can be done at home, fast catching up in India.Medical experts say though the system has been around for 14 years now, it was not being used much because of the high cost involved.

Now that the costs have come down drastically, it is an ideal choice for people with kidney failure, specially those who live in far-flung and rural areas, says Dr Dinesh Khullar, consultant nephrologist at Ganga Ram Hospital.

"It is only for people who are gradually losing their kidney functioning and are looking at renal replacement therapy that is either dialysis or a kidney transplant," he said.

Listing the advantages of the new process as compared to the hemo dialysis or blood dialysis, he said this system can be done at home and by the patient himself which is the biggest advantage.

"Initially the cost was as high as Rs 50,000 making the process unaffordable for most. But now, it costs around Rs 15,000-20,000," Khullar said.

In blood dialysis, the patient has to be hospitalised for three-four times a week, whereas the peritoneal one is a 25-minute process and has to be done thrice a day.

In peritoneal dialysis, a fluid is introduced into the abdomen which draws out water, salts and waste products from the blood through osmosis. The solution may contain sugar and amino acids or icodextrin.

However, according to some doctors compared to hemo dialysis, peritoneal dialysis runs the risk of greater infections and eventually the body may adapt making dialysis less effective.

This kind of dialysis, according to Dr Sanjiv D`Souza of the Apollo Hospital is not suitable for every patient, specially those who are physically not very strong or are vegetarians.

"As this dialysis makes the patient lose a lot of protein, he needs to eat healthy food," he said.

The peritoneal dialysis is still very costly at Rs 15,000 as compared to the hemo dialysis which costs just Rs 2,000 per sitting, he said.

In India, around 10 per cent of kidney patients are on peritoneal dialysis while in Mexico the corresponding figure is 80 per cent and in Europe it is 50 per cent.

Bureau Report