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Overnight Dialysis Saves Lives: Study
Date:11/7/2008

Kidney patients also experienced better blood pressure control

FRIDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Dialysis for eight hours a night, three times a week, reduced the risk of death for kidney patients by nearly 80 percent, compared to conventional, four-hour dialysis three times a week, a new study found.

This type of improvement is important and necessary, the study's lead author said. "Unfortunately, the mortality rate of patients treated by conventional four hours, three times weekly hemodialysis remains unacceptably high, despite several improvements in dialysis technology and general medical care," said Dr. Ercan Ok, who's with the department of nephrology at Ege University, in Izmir, Turkey.

"As an alternative, more frequent and/or longer hemodialysis regimens seem promising," added Ok, who presented the findings Nov. 7 at the American Society of Nephrology's annual meeting, in Philadelphia.

Dialysis, sometimes called hemodialysis, can be performed as either an inpatient or outpatient procedure, although it's usually administered at a medical facility of some kind. The treatment, which extracts waste products from the blood, such as potassium and urea, is the most common means of fluid removal intervention for kidney-failure patients.

Most patients who undergo dialysis do so on a thrice weekly schedule for between three to five hours per treatment, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

For the new study, Ok and his colleagues tracked 224 Turkish dialysis patients -- average age, 45 -- who were switched from conventional dialysis to a routine of three nights a week, eight hours per session at a dialysis center. The researchers noted that the patients generally experienced a month-long "adaptation period," after which they were able to sleep during their treatments.

After one year, the researchers compared the overnight group with a s
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