Disaster management of chronic dialysis patients

Richard Zoraster, MD, Raymond Vanholder, MD, PhD, Mehmet S. Sever, MD

Abstract


The chronically ill are often the hardest hit by dis-ruptions in the healthcare system—they may be highly dependent on medications or treatments that suddenly become unavailable, they are more physically fragile than the rest of the population, and for socioeconomic reasons they may be more limited in their ability to prepare or react. Medical professionals involved in dis-aster response should be prepared to care for individu-als suffering from the complications of chronic illness, and they must have some idea of how to do so with lim-ited resources.
Dialysis-dependent, end-stage renal disease patients are at especially high risk following disasters. Infrastructure damage may make dialysis impossible for days, and few physicians have experience or train-ing in the nondialytic management of end-stage renal disease. Nondialytic management strategies include dietary restrictions, aggressive attempts at potassium removal via resins and cathartics, and adaptations of acute treatment strategies. Appropriate planning and stockpiling of medications such as Kayexalate are crit-ical to minimizing morbidity and mortality


Keywords


disaster, extrahospital care, dialysis, nondialytic management, end-stage renal disease

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajdm.2007.0017

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