Filtering Myth from Fact - How Dialysis Works
Christine Lindsay filters out the facts from fiction on the process of Dialysis, St. Joe's Nephrology program and the nature of kidney disease.
Myth or Fact – Dialysis "cleans" a patient's blood.
Fact – Although, it is more accurate to say that Dialysis filters a patient's blood. Dialysis takes blood out in a continuous cycle and filters it through a specialized filter that acts like a kidney. Based on the patient's needs, their blood flows through the filter with the dialysate (acid and bicarbonate solution) and removes toxins such as potassium, which is one of the dangerous elements that can build up in your body when your kidneys don't work.
Patients on Dialysis can no longer travel – Myth or Fact?
That's a myth. We have patients at St. Joe's who travel all over the world. When a patient is planning a trip our doctors and primary care nurses will send the patient's information to the dialysis centre where they will be dialyzing – there are centres across the world. We also have a special subsidized program where our patients can spend a week with their family up north in a camp called Lions Camp Dorset. Members from our team at St. Joe's will work at Camp Dorset to provide dialysis treatment to the patients staying there. This is such a special program because being on dialysis can feel like a full-time job and can significantly affect every aspect of a patient's lifestyle. Camp Dorset gives patients and their families a much needed break from the regimented routine that comes with dialysis.
Myth or Fact - Kidney Disease is not avoidable or reversible.
This one is a hard one to answer because it all depends on what the cause is. Sometimes a patient has an acute form of kidney injury and this can be reversed if the injury is treated promptly, like a severe infection. Most forms of chronic kidney disease are not reversible when the damage is caused by chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or inherited diseases. You can avoid further kidney damage if you take good care of yourself and the contributing conditions, but once you have chronic kidney damage, the aim is to prevent further loss. Fortunately most types of chronic kidney injury are slowly progressive.
The Kidney and Urinary Program at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton is one of the largest programs in the country – Myth or Fact?
Fact! We are definitely one of the largest centers in Canada. At St. Joe's we have clinical leaders who come from all over Canada to work here. We have a team of highly skilled nurses and we partner closely with the Canadian Association of Nurses and Nephrology Technicians to uphold our best practices. We have a fantastic infection control program and pharmacy program and our entire transplant team from the surgeons to nephrologists and coordinators are extremely dedicated. Everyone who is part of our program has significant expertise and is extremely passionate about what they do.