Toronto hospital brings new dialysis treatment to children
Published Thursday, March 10, 2016 8:06PM EST
A Toronto children's hospital is the first in North America to bring a new dialysis treatment to young patients.
Spending four hours sitting still, three to four times a week, can be exhausting and frustrating for children, and many feel sick after the treatments.
The Hospital for Sick Children is the first outside of Europe to use a new system called hemodiafiltration (HDF) on pediatric patients.
"The new treatment is basically enhancing the cleaning process, so blood can be more efficiently cleaned," Dr. Christoph Licht told CTV Toronto.
Licht said other hospitals have been reluctant to adapt HDF because traditional dialysis is already working. HDF is more costly, mainly because of the sophisticated water purification system necessary for the process.
The machine adds a high volume of water, sometimes as much as 20 litres, to greatly improve the cleaning process.
"Since the water is going into the bloodstream of the patient, it has to have basically infusion fluid quality," Licht said.
The new method of dialysis is not faster than traditional dialysis, but is much more efficient at cleaning a patient's blood, helping them feel better after treatment.
SickKids spent the last five years working to bring the new system to Toronto, so patients in need of blood filtration can avoid the side effects of traditional treatment.
Patients who use HDF often have improved blood pressure, better anaemia control, improved cardiac protection and a larger appetite, the hospital said.
Ugbad Ali, 16, said she got headaches and leg cramps when getting traditional treatment for end-stage kidney disease.
"On the HDF, after this I feel more energized. I think I get to do more, and I just overall feel great," Ali said. SickKids published an "inside look" at Ali's treatment online, ahead of World Kidney Day.
Currently, HDF can only be used on patients who weigh at least 10 kilograms, but SickKids hopes to get additional software and equipment to make the treatment available for its smallest patients in the future.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Pauline Chan