Dialysis machine

More frequent, shorter dialysis sessions reduced recovery time to one hour or less in 80% of nursing home residents with end-stage renal disease, a new study has found.

Dialysis recovery can include fatigue and weakness, and is known to last up to six hours following a conventional approach of three treatments per week. But little is known about dialysis recovery time in nursing home residents, the investigators noted. 

In the current study, more than 2,000 residents in 154 nursing home facilities across 12 states reported their on-site dialysis recovery times. Relatively rapid recovery was observed in those who received five treatments in the previous week (totaling a minimum of 14 hours per week), with 92% of qualified study participants reporting they had recovered from treatment in two hours or less. 

Study participants who had 160 to 179 mmHg pre-hemodialysis systolic blood pressure also had relatively rapid recovery times. In addition, quick recovery was associated with reduced mortality or hospitalization, added the researchers. 

Patients were less likely to recover rapidly if they were older, had missed their previous treatment or experienced dialytic hypotension complications, they wrote.

Advantages of nursing home dialysis 

The nursing home environment has advantages over the home environment for dialysis, the researchers noted. Discretionary fluid and salt intake may be relatively limited in facilities, resulting in less fluid removal requirements. A lower fluid removal requirement with more frequent dialysis may provide “gentler” dialysis, also contributing to a shorter recovery time, they concluded.

Shorter recovery time may also allow greater readiness for nursing home activities such as rehabilitation therapy, they noted.

The researchers said they will next investigate the “practical ramifications” of rapid dialysis recovery time on resident perception of nursing home rehabilitation programs.

The investigation was conducted by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York, and nursing home dialysis provider Dialyze Direct.

Full findings were published in the journal Hemodialysis International.

Related articles:

Specialists propose new framework for dialysis decisions in the elderly

Post-acute provider launches comprehensive kidney disease program