IN RECENT YEARS it has been adequately proven that for some patients with chronic renal failure in whom conservative treatment is inadequate, useful existence may be maintained for significant periods of time by the use of a regularly scheduled program of hemodialysis with the artificial kidney. Although the number of patients so treated is small, the preponderance of evidence indicates that in the hands of an experienced team hemodialysis may be considered a successful, though temporary, means of treating chronic uremia.1 The demonstration of this possibility raises important questions about the need for its wider application.
It is estimated that in the US, 2,000 patients per year who die of chronic renal failure might survive with this form of treatment.2 The cost of maintaining eight patients in this fashion has been estimated at $10,000 per patient per year2 by the chronic dialysis center in Seattle. This figure
Merrill JP, Schupak E, Cameron E, Hampers CL. Hemodialysis in the Home. JAMA. 1964;190(5):468-470. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070180066018