Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have found more evidence of the benefits of home dialysis for patients with kidney failure.
Cells that help protect blood vessels work better in patients who undergo dialysis at home during the night than those who undergo standard daytime dialysis in a hospital, according to Dr. Darren Yuen, a nephrologist.
This is important for patients with kidney failure, which causes damage to the endothelial cells that line blood vessels and help control the flow of blood. While standard dialysis in hospital is helpful for treating kidney failure, many patients still develop blood vessel damage that can lead to problems with walking or even amputation.
Dr. Yuen studied the function of cells called early-outgrowth endothelial progenitor-like cells (EPLCs). These cells, found in bone marrow and in the blood, can protect damaged endothelial cells and promote the growth of new ones, leading to healthier blood vessels.
Dr. Yuen compared patients who receive home dialysis at night with patients receiving standard dialysis three times a week in hospital. He found that EPLCs from patients receiving home dialysis promoted new blood vessel growth better than EPLCs from patients on standard hospital dialysis.
The results of his research appear in the June issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
In his study, done in collaboration with the University Health Network, Dr. Yuen injected EPLCs from people receiving hospital dialysis into rats with blood vessel damage. He found no added improvements in blood vessel growth or blood circulation.
But when he injected EPLCs from patients undergoing nighttime dialysis at home, the results were almost as good as if the cells had come from healthy people.