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Sleeping Through Dialysis May Be the Way to Go
Date:5/21/2009

Overnight procedure allows longer filtering, which experts prefer

THURSDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Nighttime dialysis, done while people are asleep, not only frees up time during their days but is probably better for their health as well, a new study suggests.

Although lifesaving, dialysis is time-consuming and often inconvenient for those who need it. Nighttime dialysis, a newer option, actually takes longer but is done while a person sleeps.

"The concept is simple," explained Dr. Robert Provenzano, chief of nephrology at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit. "Since normally our kidneys work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the more time you spend with your blood being cleaned, the better it is for you metabolically."

"The current study is a small study, but it does show that these patients do have cleaner blood and their blood counts are better," Provenzano said. "It's consistent and supportive of U.S. studies that have shown the same or improved outcomes for nighttime dialysis."

For the study, British researchers compared 53 people who underwent overnight hemodialysis for at least a year to 53 similar people who had regular daytime dialysis. Most participants were men, diabetes was present in 17 percent of the overnight group and 13 percent of the others, and participants averaged 50 years old in the overnight group and 52 in the daytime group.

Overnight dialysis took six to seven hours a session and was given three times a week, whereas conventional, or daytime, dialysis took four to five hours a session and was given three times weekly.

Although the results weren't dramatic, the study found that long overnight dialysis improved certain outcomes. For example, there was a trend toward needing fewer phosphate-binding tablets, which means the longer dialysis was doing a better job filtering the blood.

The findings are published online in the Clinical J
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