New questions raised about dialysis for diabetics

September 21, 2011 2:28:34 PM PDT
A major study challenges the way diabetics and others with failing kidneys have been treated for half a century.

Many kidney patients go to dialysis three times a week to have their blood cleansed of toxins. For example: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Now, a large federally funded study in the New England Journal of Medicine says that may not be enough.

Deaths, heart attacks and hospitalizations were much higher following the two-day interval between treatments. Doctors have suspected that the two-day hiatus was risky and smaller past studies also found more heart related deaths on the day after the gap.

Fixing the problem won't be easy for patients, busy dialysis centers and insurers. It would require a rethinking of how dialysis is currently delivered.

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