Kidney patients in the Santa Clarita Valley have a new local treatment option with the opening of the first clinic to offer home dialysis services.
Kidney Consultants Medical Group, which has had an office in Valencia for a decade, this week celebrated the opening of its new facility on Tourney Road.
“The technology of dialysis has advanced tremendously,” said Dr. Omaran Abdeen, a board-certified nephrologist and a partner with the group. “The new machines are about the size of a microwave oven and are very user friendly.
The group is staffed by board certified nephrologists who provide services for patients experiencing kidney disease and hypertension. Some examples of these health problems include kidney stones, severe metabolic bone diseases, severe hypertension, kidney failure peritoneal dialysis, and kidney disease related to hypertension, diabetes, immunological diseases or other health issues.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, about 30 million American adults, about 12 percent of the population, have some level of chronic kidney disease. That percentage would translate to about 18,000 adults locally with kidney disease.
But Abdeen noted that nationally, only about a half million people have the most severe level of kidney failure, stage five, defined as having less than fifteen percent of normal kidney function.
Those patients must use a dialysis machine to take over the kidneys’ job of cleaning waste products from their blood.
There are two types of dialysis, Abdeen said. The first is hemodialysis, which cleans the blood by running it through a set of filters. The second is peritoneal dialysis, in which the patient has a catheter tube inserted in their abdomen that filters waste products from the blood while the patient sleeps.
“Peritoneal dialysis is generally for younger, more highly functioning patients,” he said.
“We know that some percentage of stage one patients, who have normal kidney function with some abnormality in the organ, will see their kidney disease advance, and our goal is to slow or stop that progression whenever we can.”
The group gets referrals from all the major local medical groups, and Abdeen and his four fellow physicians have staff privileges at Henry Mayo Newhall hospital.
The group is currently providing care to 72 local dialysis patients, and has managed care for more than 300 kidney transplant patients. “When appropriate, we refer patients to one of the transplant centers in the area, including UCLA, USC, and Cedars Sinai. Those centers provide follow-up care for the first three months after surgery, after which they come back to us for ongoing follow up.”
Patients with diabetes or high blood pressure and those who take a lot of medications are at greater risk of kidney problems. Symptoms vary, and include fatigue, loss of appetite, swelling in the legs, and changes in urination. Everyone should get an annual physical exam, which will include blood and urine tests that can indicate a need for further care.