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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 21 February
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DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Tuesday 21 February 2006
Drawing of kidneys

Full programme transcript >>

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is on the rise in some parts of the country. In this episode of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter finds out why this is happening, and reports on the current best treatments for serious kidney disease.

Mark's guest in the studio is Dr John Scoble, clinical director of the adult renal unit at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London.

ABLE

People who have diabetes or high blood pressure are at particular risk of developing kidney disease.  Polycystic kidney disease, a condition which is usually inherited, can also lead to the organs failing.

ABLE is a community based project in Leicester in which peer educators tell Asians in their own languages about the dangers to the kidney of having diabetes or high blood pressure.

Project manager and renal nurse Neerja Jain says that telling people directly and answering their questions has more impact than handing out leaflets.

When the kidneys stop working patients are usually given dialysis. This is when a machine does the job of the kidneys and takes out the toxins from the blood. Dialysis also removes excess water. 

Dialysis

Dialysis often means that patients are linked up to a machine for several hours several times each week.

Mark Porter talks about this treatment with Julie Harris, lead nurse, Dr David Taube, head of the West London Renal and Transplant Centre, and patients at the Hammersmith Hospital in West London.

Kidney Transplants

A successful kidney transplant allows people to get off dialysis. As long as they take the prescribed drugs recipients can live a normal life.

There are many people on the waiting list for a donor kidney and around 1800 transplant operations were performed in the UK last year. Around a quarter of these received their new kidney from a living donor.

Mr Nadey Hakim, consultant renal transplant surgeon in London, argues that more transplants should be carried out before the patient is in desperate need for a new kidney. These pre-emptive transplants give the best results, he says.

Mr Hakim also calls for more people to be prepared to donate a kidney to a loved one and reduce the numbers on the transplant waiting lists.  
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