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May 7, 2004
For immediate release

PEI to Participate in Central Line Dialysis Pilot Project

Health and Social Services

Prince Edward Island will participate in a one-year pilot project to offer central venous catheter hemodialysis, also known as central line dialysis, in the province, Health and Social Services Minister Chester Gillan announced in the legislature this afternoon. The treatment will be available from the existing satellite dialysis clinic, located in East Prince.

Many diseases contribute to kidney failure, but the most common causes are diabetes and high blood pressure. Dialysis is required when kidneys become permanently impaired and can no longer function normally to maintain life. Dialysis cleans the blood of wastes and removes excess fluid.

There are two ways to deliver hemodialysis – peripheral vascular access and central venous catheter access. Peripheral vascular access is the preferred method, and the majority of hemodialysis patients on PEI undergo this type of treatment.

For some people, though, this method is not a viable option, and central line dialysis is required. Gillan sees the pilot project as a way to provide a valuable service to those Islanders.

“Until now, these patients have had to travel or relocate to Moncton or Halifax in order to receive this care, causing significant financial hardship and diminishing their quality of life even further. The availability of this service in East Prince will alleviate the burden for some of these patients,” Gillan notes.

The decision to pilot this service is supported by the presence of Dr. Ghazwan Altabbaa, a nephrologist – or kidney disease expert – who practices in East Prince. Additionally, the existing staffing model of the PEI Dialysis Program uses registered nurses as the primary care providers, which influenced the QEII’s decision to pilot the service here.

It is possible that some patients requiring central line dialysis will not be able to receive treatment here, as factors such as the individual’s medical status and the capacity of the clinic will need to be considered.

An evaluation of the pilot project will be ongoing throughout the year to determine referral patterns from the Halifax-based QEH Hopsital and the capacity to provide the service.

Media Contact: Sara Underwood
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