Dialysis patient hope as world-first trial tracks breakthrough in infection testing

A world first project – led by Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Consultant Nephroloigst Dr Aron Chakera – centres on two tests which have the potential to minimise complications of the more lifestyle friendly form of dialysis.

Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) can offer patients a better quality of life than conventional haemodialysis because it can be delivered outside the clinical setting. PD offers great flexibility for dialysis patients to pursue everyday activities, including employment. Haemodialysis is usually undertaken for periods of four to five hours at a time, three times a week, all year. It’s rarely available outside a hospital setting, preventing many patients from travelling far from their treating hospitals.

Doctors and patients are often wary of PD due to its heightened association with peritonitis – an infection within the abdomen – which can lead to treatment failure and death. What can make peritonitis fatal is determining the cause of infection can take time and delays the start of appropriate treatment. These delays can be even longer for patients living in remote areas.

Dr Chakera and his research team believe the solution could lie in two tests which slash the time taken to identify the cause of infection, enabling earlier treatment and reduced severity of infection.

One of the new tests is used like a home pregnancy test, with the appearance to two lines in a panel providing almost immediate confirmation of infection. The second test which has been developed in Western Australia by PathWest scientists, can not only reduce the wait time for a diagnosis by hours or even days but also predict antibiotic resistance.


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