University of Calgary

Nocturnal dialysis

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MannsTeam finds benefits to nocturnal dialysis

By Karen Thomas

A clinical trial led by kidney specialists at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine finds that heart complications, blood pressure and quality of life all improve for people who undergo nocturnal dialysis six times a week, as compared to conventional dialysis three times a week.

The three-year study involving 52 participants in Calgary and Edmonton is published in the September 19 issue of the renowned Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

“Our study shows that nocturnal dialysis is an important option we can offer people with end stage kidney disease,” says Dr. Braden Manns, an associate professor of medicine and community health sciences, and a Calgary Health Region nephrologist. “The boost to people’s quality of life was similar in magnitude to having a kidney transplant.”

The paper reports a reduction in left ventricular mass for those on nocturnal dialysis. Disorders of the left ventricle have been proven to bring a greater risk of heart disease.

Each year, 15 percent of people with end stage kidney disease pass away—with a majority of the deaths from heart failure or complications of heart disease.

Manns and his colleagues also found that, compared to those on conventional dialysis three times a week, people on nocturnal dialysis six times a week experienced a significant drop in blood pressure, enabling some participants to reduce their blood pressure medication, and others to stop taking it altogether.

“This research brings hope to patients and their families for better treatment options and a better quality of life. That’s why an integral part of our mission is funding innovative research,” says Dr. Julian Midgley, president of The Kidney Foundation of Canada's Southern Alberta Branch. “Thanks to donor support, we were able to fund this study to the tune of nearly $100,000.”

Manns is a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and the Alberta Kidney Disease Network. Funding for this clinical trial was provided by the Kidney Foundation of Canada. The investigators involved in this study are also supported by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.