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FRIDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- While dialysis is a lifesaving treatment for many people with kidney disease, it can be very inconvenient. And the process just doesn't clean the blood as effectively as well-functioning kidneys do.
But, nocturnal dialysis -- a newer option -- is starting to change all that.
Nocturnal dialysis, not surprisingly, is dialysis performed at night. It's usually done at home, though some people opt for in-center nighttime treatments. The big benefit to nocturnal dialysis is that the blood is filtered for about eight hours at a time, instead of the standard two-and-a-half to three hours. And, because it's usually done at home, it can be performed more frequently than the usual three times weekly.
"One of the major problems with dialysis done in the traditional sense is that it tries to provide a lot of therapy in a short period of time, and it's difficult to clear toxins and fluid in that time," said Dr. Dylan Steer, a nephrologist with Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif. "Nocturnal dialysis provides a greater amount of toxin removal over a long period of time."
Dr. Robert Provenzano, chairman of the department of nephrology at St. John Hospital in Detroit, added: "The advantage of nighttime dialysis is that if you add the hours up, you get more dialysis delivered. Weekly, you get between 10 and 12 hours on regular dialysis, but on nighttime [dialysis] you get about 24. The blood is cleaner, and a lot of the restrictions placed on dialysis patients are lessened. They often use less medicine and can have a more liberal diet. The more dialysis, the better."
Normally functioning kidneys filter about 200 quarts of fluid each day, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. All that filtering produces about two quarts of waste and some excess water.
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