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Saturday, January 14, 2012

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MooseMom

I can't help but believe that dialysis is unsustainable. It really seems pre-historic when measured against the amazing leaps in technology in other realms. As the dialysis population grows, we're going to be forced to find an easier way to treat ESRD. I'm looking forward to the Renal Rifle.

Peter Laird, MD

Dear Moosemom, I would state that I can't completely agree with that sentiment about dialysis. It is not my intention to bewail one of the most incredible medical marvels of all time, dialysis. What I do stand up against is the use of this lifesaving modality for profit and greed instead of how it was originally intended and practiced prior to the advent of the 1973 ESRD program.

I do believe that dialysis is indeed sustainable and we have many long term survivors as proof of this from Dr. Scribner's original program. Anyone that has spent any time talking to Nancy Spaeth about her long survival on a combination of hemodialysis, PD and transplants is left in awe of the beauty of dialysis when practiced for the benefit of the patient. I would submit that dialysis is indeed sustainable by her example alone. Dr. Robin Eady spent 25 years on dialysis prior to his trasnplant which must have been about 27 years ago now as well.

Dialysis is every bit a modern medical marvel, we simply have not ever taken it to its full utility in this country. Perhaps it is time that we do so.

On the other hand, if someone can grow me a couple of new kidneys and give them to me every few years as my IgA gets to them, yup, I would love to say goodbye to daily dialysis. Since that is not a current reality, I am more than grateful for the nearly five years I would not have had already without it.

MooseMom

Peter, when I say "unsustainable", I mean that it is too cumbersome, labor intensive and polluting. I agree that optimal dialysis is something to be grateful for as it keeps you alive, but it IS unwieldy AND it is just out of the grasp for too many patients, anyway. Still, it is what we have today, but I hope it is not what we still have in in 10 years' time. If we can further the technology and start seeing wearable portable kidneys, or if we indeed begin growing our own kidneys, those sorts of technologies will hopefully be more user friendly, more efficient and safe AND better for the environment.

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