Encouraging news for people on dialysis whose kidneys are not doing the job anymore.
Dialysis means going to a clinic several times a week to get hooked up to a machine that cleans the blood of kidney patients, for several hours at a time.
But a new report in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, says there may be a better way...night dialysis.
A research team at the University of Calgary in Canada has been training patients to hook themselves to a new type of bedside machine so they can get dialysis while they sleep at night.
"This new type of dialysis reduces the negative effects of kidney disease on the heart and in doing so, we believe this reduces the risk for future heart attack, heart failure and sudden death," says Bruce Culleton, MD, University of Calgary.
"You have a lot more energy and it frees up your whole day to be able to do whatever you want during the day and you don't have the same bouts of nausea that you do with the other types of dialysis," says Catherine O'Meara, a nighttime dialysis patient.
There's more good news. Kidney patients generally have to take many medications to control blood pressure and other blood problems, but researchers say the nighttime dialysis patients no longer needed to take as many medications.
Patients were trained for about a month on the night dialysis and nurses were nurses on call 24 hours a day throughout the six-month study to answer any questions the patients had.