Fresenius Dialyzes in Wee Hours, Offloads Biotech Biz

Dialysis takes numerous hours of patients’ time per week, which can greatly interfere with family, work, and recreational schedules. Now Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the largest provider of dialysis services in the United States, has established more than 140 nighttime dialysis center sites.

FMCNA, the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, established programs across the country, including recently opened programs in Weymouth, Massachusetts; Waco, Texas; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and Santa Fe, California. More are scheduled to open this year.

FMCNA’s nighttime dialysis option offers the same level of supervised care as traditional daytime, in-center treatments, but patients receive their dialysis at night, usually over a longer time, the company reported.

Night-ime dialysis is a more gradual process, and at night, patients typically receive treatments three times a week but over an 8-hour period (versus a typical 3- to 4-hour period for daytime dialysis). When dialysis is provided over a longer time, fluids are removed more slowly, which results in a more gentle treatment for most patients, the company reported.

“In-center, nocturnal dialysis is a viable alternative to standard in-center dialysis for patients who require greater fluid and phosphorus removal and who are amenable to spending 3 nights a week in the dialysis facility,” said Eduardo Lacson, Jr., MD, FMCNA’s vice president for clinical science, epidemiology, and research. He recently published a study that demonstrated the health benefits of nighttime dialysis, among them improved clearance of phosphorus and fluid, in nearly 750 FMCNA patients who switched from daytime to nighttime dialysis. Studies also suggest that nighttime dialysis patients may be able to better control their blood pressure and mineral levels, allowing them to eat a wider variety of foods, according to Fresenius.

Overall, parent company Fresenius Medical Care is focusing on its core strengths of delivering dialysis and transfusion services, as seen recently when Fresenius floated its biotech arm for sale, Reuters reported. Fresenius reported in December 2012 that it planned to discontinue the Fresenius Biotech subsidiary, which posted sales of about 26 million Euros (about $34 million) in the first 9 months of 2012. Fresenius may retain some dialysis-related drugs.

At the same time, Fresenius said that it had “successfully closed the acquisition of blood-transfusion-technology company Fenwal Holdings, Inc….as part of the company’s strategy to expand in the medical-devices/transfusion-technology segment,” Fox Business News reported.

February 2013 (Vol. 5, Number 2)