News & Events2019-01-04T17:31:24-05:00

For Dialysis Patients: Update on COVID-19, Delta Variant and Vaccination

September 4th, 2021|

Written by: Alan S. Kliger, M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, and Co-Chair, American Society of Nephrology (ASN) COVID-19 Response Team. COVID-19 continues to be a dangerous infection for dialysis patients. Here are some facts every patient should know: Why should I get vaccinated now if I’ve been waiting so far? The vaccines clearly protect dialysis patients, particularly by greatly reducing hospitalizations, complications and death from COVID-19 infection. If you’ve been waiting to see if the vaccine is safe, there have now been hundreds of millions of people vaccinated, with almost no severe complications from the vaccine. Did you get vaccinated for measles? Mumps? DPT? The COVID vaccines may be the safest [...]

Anxiety and Kidney Disease

August 30th, 2021|

By Kathy Aebel-Groesch, MSW, LCSW It will come as no surprise that anxiety has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic (not to mention the political and social climate).  Even those of us who have never experienced anxiety may be finding ourselves affected. Anxiety can affect how we function in daily life--imagine yourself in a situation where you have felt extremely anxious… How did you feel physically? How clearly could you think or concentrate? How thoroughly could you have learned important information or skills? The interdisciplinary care team at the dialysis clinic is there to support you if anxiety could be affecting your ability to manage your dialysis treatment plan. How common is anxiety? 31% of adults [...]

FDA Authorizes Third Dose “Booster Shots” of Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines for Immunocompromised Individuals

August 13th, 2021|

On Thursday, August 12, 2021, the FDA updated the emergency-use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. Americans with compromised immune systems are now eligible for a third dose, or booster shot, of these vaccines. This broadened EUA includes individuals who are kidney transplant recipients or have other diagnosed conditions that are considered to be of “equivalent level of immunocompromise.” This decision was made after a thorough review of the available data, in order to allow doctors to boost the immunity of some of their most vulnerable patients who need extra protection from COVID-19. Many transplant patients have been unable to generate antibodies after the first two doses of either vaccine, but recent [...]

One Step Closer to a Wearable Artificial Kidney

August 11th, 2021|

For the past 20 years, Victor Gura, MD, FASN, an associate clinical professor of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been working on a wearable artificial kidney, or WAK. Gura has been through multiple iterations - from prototype 1.0, which weighed over 200 pounds, to prototype 2.0, which weighed 11 pounds and was tested in clinical trials in Italy, London, and Seattle, to the latest version, WAK 3.0. Weighing in at just 2 pounds and powered by a rechargeable battery, WAK 3.0 was issued patent number 10,993,183 for a combination wearable and stationary dialysis system. The description of the device given for the patent states that WAK 3.0 a hemodialysis system [...]

Here’s why the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors even if you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19

August 1st, 2021|

By Peter Chin-Hong, University of California, San Francisco. What science supports masking after vaccination? Masks help stop the spread of the coronavirus. They’re a literal layer between you and any virus in the air and can help prevent infection. The reason public health officials are calling for more mask-wearing is that there is clear and mounting evidence that – though rare – breakthrough COVID-19 infections can occur in people who are fully vaccinated. This is particularly true with emerging variants of concern. The good news is that COVID-19 infection, if it does happen, is much less likely to lead to serious illness or death in vaccinated people. Some conditions make a breakthrough infection more likely in a vaccinated person: more virus circulating [...]

Artificial Intelligence and Kidney Health

July 1st, 2021|

Nephrologists know that treating their patients means addressing not only kidney health, but also including comorbidity issues such as vascular access issues, phosphorous levels, and fluid levels. Now, new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can actually help health care providers not only manage these issues, but also help reduce the risk of recurrence. AI can assist in the analyzation and interpretation of studies and data collected on a patient in order to look at the body in a more collective way. All of this data is used to create what is called a “mathematical twin” of the patient, which allows health care providers to look at the physiological make up of their patient and run simulations [...]

Mind Over Matter – How Mindfulness Can Help Improve Both Mental and Physical Health

June 22nd, 2021|

With a million things all going on at once in our lives – work, family, friends, school, health, news, etc., it’s hard to think about focusing on just a few things at a time, let alone just one. However, it is possible to train yourself to focus in just on what you are thinking or how you are feeling in the present moment (without judgement); this is mindfulness. While not a new concept, mindfulness has been gaining more attention in today’s society as a way to increase awareness between the mind and body and to help improve concentration. Additionally, it also comes with health benefits, such as reduced anxiety and depression, ability to help lower [...]

Dialysis Patient Citizens Statement Commemorating Juneteenth

June 17th, 2021|

WASHINGTON, D.C., (June 17, 2021) — Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) today released the following statement recognizing Juneteenth and reaffirming its commitment to addressing healthcare disparities among kidney patients nationwide. “Today we commemorate Juneteenth, an important day in history that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved Americans and allows us an opportunity for reflection on both our nation’s history and how much further we have to go,” said DPC Board President Andrew Conkling. “Black Americans continue to face systemic inequalities in our country, including healthcare disparities that disproportionately hurt patients from communities of color. Too many patients with kidney disease experience firsthand unacceptable racial disparities in healthcare and DPC is committed to doing our part to ensure that every patient has [...]

If You’ve Gotten a COVID-19 Vaccine, Don’t Get an Antibody Test

June 9th, 2021|

Thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines, life is beginning to look a little more like it did pre-pandemic and people are out and about as many states start opening back up. Some people are uncertain about the effectiveness of the vaccine or its ability to protect against different variants and have considered antibody tests as a way to check the effectiveness of their vaccine. Public health officials are urging fully vaccinated people not to get antibody tests though, as they have limitations. Antibody tests are a great way to understand if someone has been previously infected with coronavirus and didn’t know at the time. If you are fully vaccinated though, antibody tests are not useful in [...]

Staying Safe in Summer Heat

June 1st, 2021|

It is finally summertime! After a long winter of being cooped up indoors, it’s great to finally be able to go to the park, the beach, or even just a nice little walk around your neighborhood. As temperatures around the country are rising though, it’s important to be mindful of the risk of heat-related illness, especially if you have kidney disease or another health condition. Hyperthermia is a illness that happens when your body becomes overheated. Mild cases can cause muscle cramps or swelling in the feet, whereas a more serve form, heat exhaustion, means that your body can no longer keep itself cool. This can cause you to become dizzy or nauseous, or even [...]

CMS Makes it Easier for Consumers to Find Prices on Hospital Services

May 11th, 2021|

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new rule on hospital price transparency that went into effect January 1, 2021. Under a section of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), hospitals are required to publish a list of standard charges each year. Originally, hospitals could fill this requirement just by publishing their chargemaster list (a comprehensive list of all products, procedures, and services provided by a hospital) online; now, however, hospitals are told exactly what they are required to publish, and how to publish it, in order to comply with the PHSA. Hospitals must publish the following five types of charges to a machine-readable file for all “items and services” the hospital [...]

COVID-19 Vaccines for Dialysis and Transplant Patients – What We Know

May 3rd, 2021|

As more and more people in the United States receive the COVID-19 vaccine, researchers have been able to learn more about efficacy rates in different patient populations. Unfortunately, preliminary research suggests that efficacy rates may be lower in both dialysis and transplant patients. In a small study, published April 6, 2021 on CJASN ePress, researchers found that, although study participants on hemodialysis did develop a substantial antibody response following two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine, it was significantly lower than the response of the control group comprised of participants not on dialysis. It was also found that older patients, regardless of chronic medical conditions, were more likely to develop less of a response. A [...]

So, You’ve Been Vaccinated. Now What?

April 5th, 2021|

First of all, congratulations! It has been a long and difficult year for everyone, and finally having some protection against COVID-19 feels good. We still have a ways to go though, and since we are still learning about how the vaccines will affect the spread of the virus, it is important that everyone one keeps taking precautions – such as wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds or poorly ventilated indoor spaces. The CDC has also provided some recommendations to help with decision making in daily activities for people who have been vaccinated. The first thing to consider is if you have been fully vaccinated. People are only considered fully [...]

Fabry Awareness Month

April 1st, 2021|

April is Fabry Awareness Month, which brings attention to a rare disease that affects about 1 in 100,000 people. So, what is it? Fabry is an inherited genetic condition, caused by a mutation on the X chromosome in the GLA gene that leads to reduced levels of the enzyme alpha-galactosidase A (AGA) in the body. This means that the body cannot break down a certain type of fat, called globotriaosylceramide (GL-3), which then continues to build-up in a way that causes the blood vessels all over the body to become narrowed. This causes damage to tissues and organs, including your kidneys! It affects both men and women, and there are two main forms of Fabry [...]

Healthy Lifestyle May Lower Death and Major Adverse Cardiac Events Risk in Kidney Patients

March 10th, 2021|

It is no secret that doctors advise all their patients to live a healthy lifestyle; eating well, including making sure to get the recommended daily nutrients for your diet, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and not smoking are beneficial for everyone. However, this is particularly important for patients living with CKD, as they are 10 times more at risk for cardiovascular disease compared with the general public. A new study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, has shown that adhering to generally recommended healthy lifestyle choices may lower the risk of death and major adverse cardiac events (MACE) for CDK patients. Adhering to five lifestyle behaviors – having not [...]

Podcast: The Elephant in the Room – Fear & Uncertainty During COVID-19

March 4th, 2021|

At the end of last year, dialysis patients were invited to submit their questions about real-life issues during COVID-19. In this first episode of the new podcast, The Elephant in the Room, experts respond to patients’ letters, including Dale Lupu from George Washington School of Nursing, Liz Anderson, a long-time social worker (both of whom were presenters for the Ed Center’s January 2021 webinar), and a kidney patient with “lived experience” John Brandon Bayton, Jr. You can listen to the first episode of the podcast on Buzzsprout here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1642372/7476073-episode-1-fear-uncertainty-during-covid-19

March is National Kidney Month!

March 1st, 2021|

Your kidneys work hard for you all year long, but this month we give them a little extra recognition and raise awareness about kidney disease for National Kidney Month. This year’s theme is all about taking charge of your health and what goes into managing your kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious condition that affects 37 million people; however, it is often overlooked until symptoms appear. This can put you at risk for serious health complications, including kidney failure, so it is important to know the ways to help manage and slow the progression of CKD. Take charge of your kidney health by following these healthy lifestyle tips: Meet with your doctor [...]

Join Us for Our New Patient Support Group!

February 11th, 2021|

In March we will be launching our first Patient Support Group meeting by telephone. Having a support group has been one of our goals for years and we are happy to announce it is now a reality. We chose to have the group meet by phone instead of online or in a Zoom meeting because we think most everyone has a phone. And we want the support group to be available to all patients at any stage of kidney disease and to their families. On the second Tuesday of each month, at 3:00 pm Eastern, you can call and join in the conversation or just listen during the one-hour meeting. The facilitator for the group [...]

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