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Keywords:

  • Australia;
  • haemodialysis;
  • home;
  • New Zealand;
  • nocturnal;
  • review

SUMMARY:  Although early experience in Australia and New Zealand confirmed home haemodialysis to be well tolerated, effective and with lower morbidity and mortality compared with centre-based haemodialysis, the advent of ambulatory peritoneal dialysis and ‘satellite’ haemodialysis has led to a steadily declining home haemodialysis population. However, the emergence of nocturnal haemodialysis, as a safe and highly effective therapy, has added to the modality choices now available and offers a new, highly attractive home-based option with many advantages over centre-based dialysis. For the patient, nocturnal haemodialysis means fluid and dietary freedom, less antihypertensive medication, the abolition of phosphate binders, the return of daytime freedom and the capacity for full-time employment. Potential biochemical benefits include normalization of the blood urea, serum creatinine, albumin, β2 microglobulin, homocysteine and triglyceride levels and other nutritional markers. Improved quality of life and sleep patterns and a resolution of sleep apnoea have been shown. Left ventricular function has also shown marked improvement. For the provider, nocturnal home haemodialysis offers clear cost advantages by avoiding high-cost nursing and infrastructure expenditure. Although consumable and equipment costs are higher, the savings on wage and infrastructure far outweigh this added expenditure. These combined factors make nocturnal haemodialysis an irresistible addition to comprehensive dialysis services, both from a clinical outcome and fiscal perspective.