Improving Care for Medicare Dialysis Patients at End of Life

A female nurse consoles a senior patient at homeEnd-stage kidney disease patients on dialysis need to continue dialysis to stay alive. To reduce the pain and common worries in their final phase of life, they also need access to hospice care. Unfortunately, Medicare patients with end-stage kidney disease often can’t have both.
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The Measure of a Molecule: Studying the KIM-1 Biomarker

Magnifying glass on antique anatomy book: KidneyIn the search of a practical screening method for early-stage renal cell cancer (RCC), researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have been studying the potential of kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1). Their latest research was published in Clinical Cancer Research and represents the first time that KIM-1 was assessed in pre-diagnostic samples.
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New EHR Tool Helps Predict Risk of Kidney Failure

A new electronic health record (EHR) tool could help physicians quickly and accurately flag patients that should be referred to a nephrologist based on indicators that may signal the risk of kidney failure. Designed by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) investigators, this tool draws upon recent research that has identified several tests that can be used to calculate an individual’s risk score. Now, an automatic calculator can be built into EHRs and displayed prominently for a physician to see when they open a patient’s record. The paper detailing the design and implementation of the application appeared online in the July 2017, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Read More

Decision-making Algorithm Shows Promise for Acute Kidney Injury Treatment

Managing acute kidney injury (AKI) can be challenging, in part because evidence about when to begin treatment — namely, dialysis and other forms of renal replacement therapy that artificially filter the blood — is quite limited and offers conflicting perspectives. Read More

A Promising Target for Kidney Fibrosis

human fibrotic tissueWhen the kidneys – vital organs for filtering the body’s entire blood supply – become injured, it can set in motion an unfortunate chain of events that leads to a decline in health. Sometimes, in response to chronic injury, the body begins an aberrant repair process known as fibrosis, in which normal fibroblast cells transform into myofibroblasts, proliferate out of control, migrate and form scar tissue. Once scar tissue begins to form, functional cells begin to die, and the scar tissue multiplies. Investigators have been looking for a way to break this cycle, and new findings indicate that a gene known as SMOC2 may point the way to a new intervention that could prevent this cascade of events. Read More