Issue: February 2021
Disclosures: Ponferrada reports no relevant financial disclosures.
February 16, 2021
3 min read

Annual Dialysis Conference looks at ways to advance home dialysis

Issue: February 2021
Disclosures: Ponferrada reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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The Annual Dialysis Conference, taking place virtually from March 5 to 7, includes a full day of sessions on home dialysis.

Topics will include the impact of the pandemic on home dialysis uptake, tackling the myths and barriers, the impact of telehealth and ways to build and maintain home programs.

Eric Weinhandl, PhD, MS, will open the Home Dialysis Symposium with a discussion on trends during 2020.

“The trend in home dialysis use during the latter half of 2019, following the executive order on Advancing American Kidney Health, and the first half of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, is a complex one,” Weinhandl, senior epidemiologist at the Chronic Disease Research Group in Minneapolis, said. “Peritoneal dialysis [PD] use among patients new to dialysis reached a level not seen in over 30 years. Meanwhile, home hemodialysis is steadily expanding, with nearly 17% annualized growth between January 2019 and August 2020.”

Impact of COVID-19

The surge in numbers on home dialysis intake may reflect how COVID-19 has impacted dialysis care and modality selection. Suzanne Watnick, MD, chief medical officer for Northwest Kidney Centers, will talk about the emerging trends of home dialysis after COVID-19. A year ago, Washington state was the epicenter for the pandemic, where the first two deaths attributed to COVID-19 – both patients on dialysis – were identified.

Leonor Ponferrada

Getting patients interested in home therapy requires a consistent message from staff about its value. Brigitte Schiller, MD, chief medical officer for Satellite Healthcare, will identify the myths and barriers practitioners need to overcome to help patients see the value of home therapy. One of these advantages includes the use of telehealth. Brent W. Miller, MD, will discuss how we can use this technology to benefit patient outcomes.

Sound infrastructure is crucial in the successful operation of a home program. A full session is devoted to addressing this issue. Nupur Gupta, DO, MPH, will discuss strategies to build and maintain an engaging home dialysis program, and Michael Kraus, MD, FACP, will talk about developing a dedicated staff for a home dialysis program. The benefits and challenges of developing a standardized patient education program on kidney disease will be presented by Ashutosh Shukla, MD.

PD fundamentals

Fundamentals in PD have always been a component of the Annual Dialysis Conference. Ramesh Khanna, MD, ADC conference chair and professor of medicine at the University of Missouri, said this should be an integral part of the conference. “Compromise in fundamentals is a non-starter ... knowledge of fundamentals is sound, understanding the complex issues follows easily,” he said. This year’s topics include PD prescription and adequacy management presented by Anjay Rastogi, MD, PhD; and Sagar Nigwekar, MD, MMSc, will discuss volume management. Martin Schreiber, MD, FACS, will review the benefits and outcomes of urgent start PD.

Additional sessions related to home dialysis are accessible throughout the conference, including an advanced workshop on prescription management, a session to address a team-based approach to maintain patients on home hemodialysis, new approaches to education focusing on technology, meeting the psychosocial needs of home patients and care partners and a session focusing on epidemiology, biostatistics and research methods applied to home dialysis.

As in previous years, the North American Chapter of ISPD (NAC) has a joint full-day program planned with ADC on March 7. Matthew Oliver, MD, MHS, FRCPC, head of the division of nephrology at Toronto University and chair of the NAC program planning, said the program “focuses on innovation and aims to promote home dialysis as part of the Advancing American Kidney Health initiative, as well as a means to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Topics will include new models in patient education, advanced patient training, strategies to predict successful PD and alternative and enhanced treatments, such as incremental PD. Catheter insertion methods and strategies to lower complications will also be featured.

For additional information on the Home Dialysis Symposium and the ADC, visit