Daily Hemodialysis Improves Depression and Recovery Time

(New York, NY) – September 1, 2010 -- Hemodialysis patients who transitioned from in-center to daily home dialysis regimens experienced significant improvements in depressive symptoms and post-dialysis recovery times, according to a new report published today in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation.

Patients who made the switch from the normal, thrice weekly in-center treatment regimen to a daily schedule, defined as six times per week, reported more than a 30% decline in depressive symptoms and an 87% drop in post-dialysis recovery time over a 12 month period.

The research team assessed 128 patients making the treatment regimen switch. Patients were assessed upon enrollment and then again four months and 12 months afterward. The average training period to complete the transition was 27 days.

“Depression and post-dialysis fatigue are important concerns for patients with kidney failure,” said Kerry Willis, PhD, National Kidney Foundation’s Senior Vice President of Scientific Activities. “These findings suggest that increasing the number of times a patient dialyzes can improve their quality of life, which has been linked to fewer trips to the hospital and a lower mortality rate.”

This report is part of the FREEDOM (Following Rehabilitation, Economics and Everyday-Dialysis Outcome Measurements) Study, an ongoing prospective cohort study investigating the clinical and economic benefits of daily hemodialysis.

“The improvement in depression symptoms may be directly related to the shortened recovery time and less dramatic chemical changes with more frequent dialysis,” said Dr. Fredric Finkelstein, of Yale University School of Medicine and member of the FREEDOM Study group.

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing and treating kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing availability of all organs for transplantation. For more information on kidney disease, dialysis or a schedule of kidney screenings visit www.kidney.org.