Find out all your options before getting a fistula

If you have been just diagnosed with Kidney Failure, it is important for you to know your options. There are many options for treating Kidney Failure. Your doctor may or may not mention all of them. You have to ask. And read up. It is your health at stake here. No one else will be as bothered as you are.

Unfortunately, in much of the world, being diagnosed with Kidney Failure even today results in the patient being advised to get an AV Fistula, which is an access for Hemodialysis. Nobody even talks about Peritoneal Dialysis. Much less about Conservative Care, which may be an excellent option for the frail and elderly.

So, if you are the patient or the primary caregiver of a patient, you will benefit immensely from being proactive in this regard and finding out as much as you can before deciding which treatment option suits you the best. This happens when you prepare in advance. Trouble is here in India, many people get to know about their kidney failure too late and at that time, things are so rushed, there is hardly any time to think about options. People just go with the flow. Sad!

However, this is a decision that is going to impact your life in the foreseeable future. So, try to find out more however late it might be.

This post I wrote last year gives the various options. This post gives the options in my order of preference. Your mileage might vary.

Also, while we are at it, if you have been recently diagnosed with Kidney Failure, please do the things listed here as soon as possible.

A survey conducted in the US a few years ago among nephrologists, asked them which modality they would pick for themselves if they were diagnosed with Kidney Failure. It showed, "Even though 92% of US dialysis patients receive thrice weekly in-center hemodialysis, only 6% of nephrologists selected this for themselves." Because nephrologists know which therapy is better for longevity and Quality of Life. Then, why are so many patients not on other modalities? Either they don't know about other modalities or they know and would still opt for in-centre hemodialysis. In India, I strongly suspect most people know only of one modality.

In-centre hemodialysis has some advantages. You don't need to take responsibility for your care. There are many people who would prefer this. Granted. But they should be the ones making this choice and not others.

So, please read up, talk to people and learn all you can about the options and then make your own choice. Don't let anyone thrust it upon you.