Recently, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit began providing Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) for renal patients who are acutely ill. This special type of dialysis helps patients with kidney disease or who are in kidney failure by continuously removing solute (waste) and fluids from their bodies when their own kidneys are unable to do so.
Patients with advanced kidney disease but low blood pressure who cannot receive regular dialysis can safely receive continuous dialysis 24 hours a day while in the ICU. Another important use of CRRT is to help patients who are in heart failure and experiencing severe swelling but are not responding to fluid pills. CRRT can help control the edema by removing the excess fluids. CRRT is also utilized for patients who overdose, have been exposed to poisons, or those with severe electrolyte disturbances such as hyperkalemia and hypercalcemia in blood cancer patients. With a slower rate of therapy, CRRT is gentler on the patient’s body than regular dialysis which is administered in about a four-hour period.
To administer CRRT, the ICU team received specialized training under the direction of nephrologist Dr. Alfred Ajise. CRRT is highly successful, but it is also a complicated therapy to administer. Special anticoagulation is used to prevent clotting within the system itself, and patients require constant monitoring of their kidney function and blood pressure. With CRRT, doctors can keep patients hydrated, control high blood pressure, and administer antibiotics and other medications intravenously to help the patients’ overall medical condition improve while ensuring that the kidney function is being safely performed through CRRT. Once the patients’ kidney function improves and patients can urinate on their own, the ICU team can stop CRRT and allow the patients’ kidneys to take over in filtering wastes and eliminating fluids.
“We are pleased to have a nephrologist on our active medical staff and be able to offer this important therapy for those in our community with kidney disease,” explained Chief Nursing Executive, Dr. Ronnie Ursin. “When a renal patient becomes acutely ill, we need CRRT to help get them through the renal crisis.
I want to congratulate and thank the ICU nursing team and Dr. Ajise for making this lifesaving care possible here in Natchitoches,” he said.