The Catholic University of Korea Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital said Wednesday that it opened a hemodialysis vascular center that specializes in treating patients undergoing hemodialysis.
Hemodialysis, commonly called kidney dialysis, is a process that filters, cleans, and returns blood of a person whose kidneys are not working correctly and cannot remove waste. Patients with end-stage chronic renal failure need to get hemodialysis three times a week, four hours at a time.
|Professor Kim Yong-soo (left), head of the hemodialysis vascular center at St. Mary’s, finishes a balloon dilation for arteriovenous stenosis in a hemodialysis patient.|
There are about 70,000 hemodialysis patients in Korea with the number increasing each year steadily. Korea has around 1,000 hemodialysis rooms. Roughly 80 percent are at private clinics and general hospitals while 20 percent are at university hospitals. About half of all patients get dialysis treatment in either the Seoul or Gyeonggi Province.
Vascular complications are a common cause of hospitalization that has continually added to medical expenses, the hospital said, requiring around 8,700 cases of vascular access treatments each year. Korea has been suffering from a lack of professional treatment centers, according to St. Mary’s.
"Proper management of dialysis blood vessels should improve quality of life, lower hospital admissions, and medical costs, and, in the long term, reduce mortality from hemodialysis patients due to vascular complications,” said Professor Kim Yong-soo, head of hemodialysis vascular center. Kim is also the head of the Korean Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology and the Asian Pacific Society of Dialysis Access.
The center has created a hotline that immediately links them to a professional coordinator and medical staff in case of an emergency where dialysis blood vessels become narrow or blocked. It also offers a one-stop service wherein doctors can perform a radiological intervention procedure or surgery on the same day of diagnosis. The patient can even get hemodialysis and leave on the same day.
An interdisciplinary medical team from the departments of nephrology, radiology, and vascular surgery will diagnose and treat patients with vascular complications, the hospital said.
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