Lalit Seth (69) suffered kidney failure in December and has been on dialysis since then. But the diamond exporter doesn’t have to go to a hospital thrice a week. He simply connects a tiny tube inserted in his abdomen to a laptop-sized machine before going to bed every night and disconnects it when he wakes up.
Seth is among a small but growing number of patients suffering kidney failure who are opting for peritoneal dialysis (PD), a lesser-known dialysis method that allows patients to do the treatment in the comfort of their homes. (see graphic)
PD has been available for 20 years but it was not a preferred option because it was too expensive and there were more chances of infection compared to the regular haemodialysis. Research and advances in the technology over the years have minimised side effects and made it more pocket-friendly.
“In the past, fluids for PD were not available in India. They had to be imported and were too expensive,” said Dr Jatin Kothari, consultant nephrologist with Hinduja Hospital, on World Kidney Day on Thursday.
He added that materials (bags to collect fluid) used had also been improvised so the chances of infection were minimal. About 20 of Dr Kothari’s patients are on PD. The doctor said PD is not recommended for patients who have had an abdominal surgery or suffers from intestine cancer.
Jaslok Hospital’s nephrologist Dr Bhupendra Gandhi said PD is a good option for those who live in rural areas, which don’t have a dialysis centre. “But it should be given to very selective patients. The patient has to be very disciplined and cautious to ensure he does not forget a session or contract an infection,” he said.
Seth is glad he chose PD. “I am planning to go to Hong Kong to visit my son next month. I will carry the machine with me.”