Doing dialysis the Emory way

Illustration of human kidneys

Dialysis is a lifeline for people with renal failure, but it is often exhausting.

Patients usually have to undergo dialysis three times a week for up to four hours each visit. With the required investment of so much time, patients want a comfortable dialysis center that can provide excellent care.

Atlanta kidney patients now have a new option for treatment. Emory Healthcare opened three new metro dialysis centers in January. Emory Dialysis Northside, located west of Georgia Tech, offers 38 dialysis stations; Emory Dialysis Greenbriar, within the Greenbriar Mall, has 26 stations; and Emory Dialysis Candler, south of I-20, has 38 stations.

"As an academic medical center, we must set the standard for care," says Emory nephrologist Jeff Sands, who has long advocated for Emory-owned centers. "Our hospital clinical care for patients with chronic kidney failure is outstanding, and we want to provide that same level of care for patients in outpatient settings."

Emory’s dialysis centers also offer learning opportunities for nursing and medical students and residents, as well as clinical research opportunities that can translate to improvements in patient care. For example, one recent finding by Emory researchers is helping dialysis patients sleep better. Patients who receive dialysis in the afternoon often report trouble sleeping that night and the following night. But by cooling dialysis fluid from 37°C to 35°C, researchers have found that patients sleep better. Why? Warmer dialysis fluid interrupts the body’s ability to cool its core temperature as the patient falls asleep. 

The new centers feature individual stations with reclining chairs, flat-panel television screens, and state-of-the-art equipment. Doctors can remotely access the dialysis computers to check on a patient’s vital signs if a nurse discovers a potential problem.

The centers are part of Emory’s continuing commitment to the Atlanta community, Sands says. "Owning our dialysis centers gives us a significant advantage to control quality of care, to advance the science of medicine, and to train the next generation of physicians and ancillary staff so that we can more effectively care for our patients with kidney failure." —Kay Torrance 

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Emory Health - Winter 2010