Practice Pointers

Technical Issues in Dialysis

What are some of the most important challenges facing nephrologists in prescribing dialysis therapy for their patients? Ever since dialysis therapy has proved to be lifesaving, we have been challenged to decrease the mortality and increase the safety of the procedure (1). Advances in technology have led to increasingly complex equipment, resulting in a steep learning curve for both clinicians and patients alike.

Hemodialysis Access Rupture

How common is access rupture? According to data reported to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, fatal rupture of arteriovenous (AV) dialysis access accounts for close to 0.4 percent of all hemodialysis deaths, which translates into about one death per 1000 hemodialysis patient years. A recent retrospective review of cases reported to the medical examiner in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia suggested that there is significant underreporting of such deaths (1).