Increasing lifespan for kidney patients
A private dialysis unit has opened at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead. Dialysis replicates some of the functions of the kidneys. It is used to treat chronic kidney disease (kidney failure or end stage renal disease).
Around 10 per cent of the UK population has some degree of kidney disease, but only a small percentage ever develop kidney failure. Untreated, the condition can prove fatal, but treatment has improved vastly over the past 60 years.
In 1957 John Hopewell set up urological services at the Royal Free. He believed that urology should work alongside a renal unit with facilities to treat end stage renal failure, so a dedicated cubicle was built in the Lawn road branch of the hospital.
By 1958, patients were being dialysed and today, the Royal Free London NHS foundation trust has around 700 patients on haemodialysis. Advances in treatment have led to longer lifespans and a much better quality of life. the average lifespan is now 20 years, but some people have been on dialysis for more than 30 years.
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Article first published on 11 October 2013 in the Jewish Chronicle Health & Wellbeing Supplement