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HUNTINGTON - Kidney failure means dialysis for the rest of a person's life. Typically, this means three regular visits a week for treatment.

Fresenius Kidney Care's Huntington Home Dialysis Facility had an open house Wednesday to promote the facility, which teaches dialysis patients how to get their treatment at home.

Zeid Khitan, medical director and chief of the nephrology department at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, said it is the first center of its kind in West Virginia.

Dialysis is necessary for patients with kidney disease who develop end-stage kidney failure, typically 85 to 90 percent loss of kidney function, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Dialysis is used to remove waste, salt and extra water in the body, and keep safe levels of potassium, sodium and bicarbonate in the blood and control blood pressure.

The facility supports both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. In hemodialysis, an artificial kidney is used to remove waste and extra chemicals and fluid from the patient's blood. In peritoneal dialysis, blood is cleaned inside the body.

"There is growing evidence people who do home dialysis tend to get more frequent dialysis compared to patients who get it in centers," Khitan said. "There is a possibility it is linked to better survival and better (cellular motion)."

The facility provides support for patients, as well as trains the patients and caregivers or family how to use a dialysis machine at home. Training takes about four to five days a week for three to four weeks.

Doctors stay in touch with patients and have monthly assessments of how the patient is doing.

Khitan said he believes the treatment gives people their lives back.

"We have a nurse who was on dialysis who is now going back to work because she can do her treatment at home," he said.

The home dialysis center is located at 1500 17th St. For more information, call 304-525-8091.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter @TaylorStuckHD.

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