By Peter Laird, MD
I just returned from my quick trip over to Las Vegas for the NxStageUsers conference where RIch Berkowitz put together an impressive list of home dialysis leaders including Dr. Alan Hull, Medical Director of NxStage, Dr. Robert Lockridge who has the largest nocturnal dialysis cohort in America and Dr. Michael Kraus, lead investigator of the FREEDOM study on outcomes in a NxStage cohort of 500 patients. The take away message from all of their talks on the opening morning of the conference is that more frequent, longer duration dialysis needs to supplant the usual incenter care of short, rapid and unfortunately high mortality dialysis as practiced in America.
I was able to meet Dori Schatell of the Medical Education Institute in person for the first time. She has been involved in the renal community for years and is someone instrumental in my education on home dialysis issues. Gary Peterson of RenalWeb will be talking as the last speaker of the conference on Tuesday the 12th. Many patients and care partners are participating in this conference and it was great to be able to meet up with Patricia Colongione, Linda Upchurch, Denise Eilers, Harvey Wells, Rich Berkowitz, Dan Larabee, David Rosenbloom and so many other kind and involved patients and advocates. The heart of the conference is the pioneering spirit of all of the NxStage users waging the battle against American style dialysis by taking it home.
Joe Turk, Senior Vice President of NxStage gave an overview of the history of NxStage in its development phase as well as to the point of profitability in the last quarter for the first time since beginning operations. NxStage is the first commercially successful home dialysis venture to date. This company and this little machine is singlehandedly keeping the issue of home dialysis at the forefront of American nephrology when all other home modalities continue to diminish. At the same time, home dialysis in some nations is the preferred option. NxStage is leading the way to economically viable home dialysis in America and their story should serve as encouragement to all patients considering this option.
The NxStageUsers group is composed of a diverse population of patients, care partners and health care professionals all who share the single common goal of broadcasting the benefits of more frequent and longer duration dialysis therapy. It is time for their voice to be heard loud and clear. It is time for America to embrace the concept that more dialysis is better dialysis. Dr. Allan Hull I believe it was that pointed out that dialysis patients have never come together before as a united group in a conference like this. It is time that the patients themselves take center stage in demanding better dialysis outcomes that can truly only be achieved through home hemodialysis in those patients unable to undergo renal transplantation. It is an alternative whose time is now.