Updated ASN Dialysis Curriculum Available Online

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Dialysis Advisory Group announces the release of its updated online curriculum, the Dialysis “Virtual Mentor” Curriculum.

End stage kidney disease affects more than 500,000 Americans, and the majority of these patients receive dialysis therapy. Recognizing the importance and centrality of this therapy to physician training and patient care, the ASN Dialysis Advisory Group developed a comprehensive online curriculum for trainees and nephrologists.

The curriculum covers important topics related to dialysis care that trainees need to understand and practicing nephrologists may want to refresh. Originally developed in 2010 under the leadership of Rajnish Mehrotra, MD, MS (University of Washington), and Suzanne Watnick, MD (Oregon Health & Science University), the curriculum covers a broad spectrum of topics including complications of hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, daily hemodialysis, dialysis access, dialysis equipment and technical issues, drug dosing on dialysis, dialysis initiation, medical management of dialysis patients, and administrative issues related to managing a dialysis center.

In 2014 and 2015, the ASN Dialysis Advisory Group updated the existing educational presentations and expanded the curriculum to include a wider range of home hemodialysis and vascular access-related subject matter. The curriculum update was spearheaded by Dialysis Advisory Group members Jennifer Flythe, MD, MPH, and Timmy Lee, MD, MSPH, under the leadership of Drs. Mehrotra and Laura Dember. Existing presentations on intradialytic hypotension and hypertension, anemia management, bone mineral disease dysregulation, cardiovascular risk factors, sudden cardiac death and arrhythmias, uremic toxins, and financial considerations related to reimbursement bundling were updated to include new evidence, practice guidelines, and policy. Recognizing the growth of home therapies, new presentations on writing the home hemodialysis prescription and managing home hemodialysis patients were added. The curriculum was expanded to include a greater focus on vascular access with new educational presentations on vascular access placement, surveillance and monitoring, and cannulation, as well as catheter malfunction and infection. Finally, a presentation on hemodiafiltration was developed to highlight technological advances in the field.

The ASN Dialysis Advisory Group would like to thank the authors of the revised and new curriculum presentations (Table 1). ASN is grateful to the authors for their substantial time and expertise devoted to developing the curriculum content. The ASN Dialysis Advisory Group would also like to thank ASN Policy Associate Mark Lukaszewski for his coordination and oversight of the curriculum update initiative. And the group expresses gratitude to the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis, which provided many of the presentations related to the peritoneal dialysis prescription, patient training, and staff education.

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Providing the optimal dialysis care for patients with kidney failure demands considerable breadth and depth of expertise. This updated and expanded curriculum will yield substantial benefits for kidney care professionals and the patients they treat. The curriculum is just one aspect of ASN’s continued efforts to lead the fight against kidney diseases.

The curriculum is freely accessible to all ASN members and is available on the ASN website at www.asn-online.org/education/distancelearning/curricula/dialysis/. ASN members must be logged on to the website in order to access the curriculum.