In this Article
- Introduction to Hemodialysis
- When Your Kidneys Fail
- How Hemodialysis Works
- Adjusting to Changes
- Getting Your Vascular Access Ready
- Equipment and Procedures
- Tests to See How Well Your Dialysis Is Working
- Conditions Related to Kidney Failure and Their Treatments
- How Diet Can Help
- Financial Issues
- Hope Through Research
- Resources: Organizations That Can Help
- Find a local Nephrologist in your town
Treatment for kidney failure is expensive, but Federal health insurance plans pay much of the cost, usually up to 80 percent. Often, private insurance or State programs pay the rest. Your social worker can help you locate resources for financial assistance. For more information, see the NIDDK fact sheet Financial Help for Treatment of Kidney Failure.
Hope Through Research
The NIDDK, through its Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases, supports several programs and studies devoted to improving treatment for patients with progressive kidney disease and permanent kidney failure, including patients on hemodialysis.
- The End-Stage Renal Disease Program promotes research to reduce
medical problems from bone, blood, nervous system, metabolic,
gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and endocrine abnormalities in kidney
failure and to improve the effectiveness of dialysis and transplantation.
The research focuses on evaluating different hemodialysis schedules and on
finding the most useful information for measuring dialysis adequacy. The
program also seeks to increase kidney graft and patient survival and to
maximize quality of life.
- The HEMO Study, completed in 2002, tested the theory that a
higher dialysis dose and/or high-flux membranes would reduce patient
mortality (death) and morbidity (medical problems). Doctors at 15 medical
centers recruited more than 1,800 hemodialysis patients and randomly
assigned them to high or standard dialysis doses and high- or low-flux
filters. The study found no increase in the health or survival of patients
who had a higher dialysis dose, who dialyzed with high-flux filters, or who
- The U.S. Renal Data System (USRDS) collects, analyzes, and
distributes information about the use of dialysis and transplantation to
treat kidney failure in the United States. The USRDS is funded directly by
the NIDDK in conjunction with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The USRDS publishes an Annual Data Report, which identifies the total
population of people being treated for kidney failure; reports on incidence,
prevalence, death rates, and trends over time; and develops data on the
effects of various treatment approaches. The report also helps identify
problems and opportunities for more focused special studies of renal
- The Hemodialysis Vascular Access Clinical Trials Consortium is conducting a series of multicenter, clinical trials of drug therapies to reduce the failure and complication rate of arteriovenous (AV) grafts and fistulas in hemodialysis. These studies are randomized and placebo controlled, which means the studies meet the highest standard for scientific accuracy. AV grafts and fistulas prepare the arteries and veins for regular dialysis. See the NIDDK fact sheet Vascular Access for Hemodialysis for more information. Recently developed drugs to prevent blood clots may be evaluated in these large clinical trials.
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