Everything you need to know about Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome

Everybody know dialysis patients are truly considered as tough patients for all the physical and psychological efforts they have to overcome. Finding a cure for them is not an easy task and yet they have the duty to remain calm, undoubtedly patient and wait for their treatment to have the effect and result they expect and have to wait for. The live of dialysis patients has to go on even though the treatment is not as simple as they would like, and even they routines change completely.

Hospital_joe cosgrove_Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome

Image courtesy of Anoto AB at Flickr.com

The blood purifying treatment for their chronic kidney disease is already pretty aggressive, and it gets even tougher when this treatment gets unexpected complications.

One of the complications dialysis can have is the Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome, also called DDS. This complication is considered a life-threatening complication and very few cases are reported.

The first DDS case description was reported in the early sixties.

Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome is a very rare dialysis complication, nevertheless the possibilities for this syndrome to appear are real and will most likely occur in the first sessions of hemodialysis in pediatric and elderly patients with end-stage renal disease. Elderly and pediatric patients are more prone to develop this syndrome due to the smaller volume of distribution of urea. DDS has been defined as a clinical syndrome of neurologic deterioration.  It is attributed to cerebral edema or conditions such as malignant hypertension, hepatic encephalopathy or hyponatremia, although the causes for DDS are not fully understood. It is also commonly known that DDS occurs in dialysis patients with pre-existing CNS lesions, such as recent head trauma or stroke.

For more information on the consequences of hemodialysis, click here.

What are the most common signs and symptoms?

The most common signs and symptoms presented in dialysis disequilibrium disorder are restlessness, continuous headaches, episodes of mental confusion in the patient, occasional muscle twitching and sometimes patients have even presented a coma, along with a few reported cases of death. Patients will probably also have a bit of irritability, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and delirium that can even last for a few days. In order to find out more of what is happening with the patient, normally, what doctors will recommend is to do a computed tomography and also an MRI of the head, not only to understand the Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome but also to make sure there are no more intracranial issues.

How can it be prevented?

In order to prevent Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome, the dialysis treatment should be reduced in patients that have been identified as a high risk, commonly due to their end-stage renal disease.  Patients will be asked to take in the so-called “Osmotically active agents” which are basically fructose, glucose and mannitol. Other recommended ways to prevent DDS is for patients to have gentler dialysis such as daily dialysis or nocturnal dialysis which are done in a more gradual, shorter and less aggressive way.

What is the most common treatment for DDS?

When Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome appears, the most recommended treatment is to stop the hemodialysis. If the dialysis cannot be stopped, it should be at least reduced. Prevention actions mentioned above can also be used as proper treatment for patients with this type of complications.

Recommendations for the patient and their family

Avery important recommendation for the patient to follow is to continue eating a healthy diet and having a healthy lifestyle. In terms of family support, it is always recommended for patients to be surrounded by family and people that may bring them joy and comfort. Due to the weakness they may present, it is good for the patient to avoid any physical effort.

Additionally, it is always a good thing to have close friends or family to be there every time the patient needs it. A positive environment will always bring a better attitude in people, especially when they need to be and to feel strong on the inside and the outside.

family_visiting nana_The importance of support_Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome_joe cosgrove

Image courtesy of Amy the Nurse at Flickr.com

The importance of support

A dialysis patient is a delicate patient. A Dialysis Disequilibrium Syndrome patient is an even more delicate patient that will need patience, love and understanding. A treatment like this will not only take time, but also a lot of positivity and can only be achieved with the support family and friends can offer.

Make sure you treat your ill loved one well and you will see how his recovery or treatment process will improve. In the end, the satisfaction will be there, by knowing the patient received all the love and support he needed.

To find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis Joe Cosgrove recommends to click here


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