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Contrib Nephrol. 2012;177:106-16. doi: 10.1159/000336943. Epub 2012 May 8.

Current international status of home hemodialysis.

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Yokohama Dai-ichi Hospital of Zenjin Foundation, Yokohama, Japan.


Three times weekly home hemodialysis (HHD) was introduced shortly after the initiation of chronic hemodialysis (HD) treatment in 1960. HHD eliminates the need of transportation to and from the dialysis unit and by allowing patients to set their own dialysis schedule, decreases the burden of treatment on their personal and professional lives. HHD has been found more economical and more highly associated with better patient survival than in-center dialysis. Nevertheless, the global prevalence of HHD decreased between 1980 and 2000 due to the increased availability of dialysis units and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, advances in cadaveric kidney transplantation, and several other factors. However, the availability of HHD at a frequency of more than 3 times/week, the typical frequency of conventional HD (CHD), in such forms as brief HD sessions of 2-3 h 5-6 days/week and nocturnal HD (NHD) has led to reversals in this trend. Frequent HHD, such as short daily HD (SDHD) and NHD instead of 3 times/week CHD, has been found to significantly improve hypertension, left ventricular mass, renal anemia, quality of life and mortality. On the other hand, NHD has been found to significantly improve hypertension, left ventricular mass, renal anemia, quality of life, malnutrition, mortality and phosphate clearance. Many observational clinical studies and one randomized controlled trial of SDHD and/or NHD have been conducted, and compact and convenient dialysis machines have been developed and used for HHD. The most recent data reported in the national and local registries of selected countries indicate that the prevalence of HHD among all dialysis patients from 2008 to 2010 varied from 0 to 3.3% except in New Zealand and Australia, where it was 16.3 and 9.3%, respectively. As HHD appears to be a more effective and economical dialysis modality than in-center CHD, its prevalence is likely to increase in the future.

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