Fifty-seven-year-old Indianapolis-resident Rick has been suffering from chronic kidney disease for many years. In late 1997, he was planning to get a transplant before he needed to start dialysis, but a blood clot caused his kidneys to suddenly shut down, and Rick needed to start dialysis right away.
For the first six months, Rick did in-center hemodialysis three days a week, which was a draining, time-consuming process. Then he remembered hearing about a type of home hemodialysis, which he was eager to try. So Rick and his wife decided to start the six-week training program. One day, however, the water supply of his entire neighborhood got contaminated and he couldn't continue with this treatment. Rick then decided to try another form of home dialysis called peritoneal dialysis (PD). Unfortunately, he developed a problem with his colon and had to have his peritoneal dialysis catheter removed.
In 2004, Rick learned about an IU Health University Hospital study of a new portable home hemodialysis machine. He decided to enroll and became the first patient in Indiana to train on the NxStage System One, which he began in April of that year. "They scheduled the training for 10 weeks," recalls Rick. "But everyone knew how to set up the machine by the third day; it was pretty easy."
After the study was over, Rick continued to use the NxStage system and has been on the therapy for more than seven years, doing dialysis six days a week for about two hours each day. Rick has been very pleased with the shorter, more frequent treatments because they allow the dialysis machine to better mimic a real functioning kidney. He feels much better with daily, more frequent treatments and is particularly happy with the lack of swings in fluid levels. He was able to stop all his blood pressure medicines in the first week of starting on daily, more frequent home hemodialysis and has noticed an improvement in his appetite.
Before starting on the NxStage system, the rigorous schedule of Rick's dialysis treatments used to keep him from enjoying vacations to places that didn't have a dialysis center nearby to accommodate his needs. Since the NxStage System One is small and very user-friendly, Rick is able to enjoy one of his favorite pastimes again. Rick and his wife were finally able to take a cruise - doing his daily, more frequent treatments in their cabin after a full day's activities. They've also vacationed at Hilton Head, S.C. and often spend a few days every couple of months in Georgia visiting family.
"When I traveled on conventional hemodialysis, I had to call ahead and schedule a treatment time in a center. They always give you a time in the middle of the day. And, then you're so tired after your treatment that you don't feel like doing anything. So, you lose three days of your vacation," he remembers. Now, Rick can travel more easily to places he enjoys with his portable dialysis machine. Rick is also thrilled to be back working part-time for a merchandising company since he has more energy and doesn't feel sick after dialysis anymore. The flexibility and freedom of this therapy also enables him to schedule his treatments around his other activities, rather than having to conform to the center's strict and often overbooked schedule.
Rick has tried practically every form of dialysis and feels that nothing compares to daily, more frequent home hemodialysis with the NxStage system. Thanks to the many health and quality of life benefits of the treatment, Rick has gotten his life back now that he's able to work, travel and spend time with his family.