Clinics in Easton Provide Dialysis Access and Pre-Transplant Care for Patients with Kidney Disease

Kidney transplant surgeons from the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) travel to Easton, Maryland eight times a month to provide care for patients who are in need of pre-transplant care and dialysis vascular access. Before 2009, no pre-transplant care existed for patients living from the eastern shore of Virginia into Delaware. The goal is to reduce patients’ need to travel to Baltimore until it is time for a major surgical procedure, like a kidney transplant.

Joan Corbin lives on Smith Island, Maryland and benefited from the kidney disease clinics on the eastern shore. Ms. Corbin was on peritoneal dialysis until infections in her abdominal wall caused her to seek medical help. Her local surgeon advised that she switch to hemodialysis for three months while her infection healed. But this posed a major issue for Ms. Corbin; hemodialysis has to be administered by a healthcare professional in a clinical setting, unlike peritoneal dialysis, which patients can do on their own at home. Switching to hemodialysis would mean Ms. Corbin would have to move to the mainland and rent a house for three months. This was not a realistic option for the Corbin family.

Ms. Corbin was referred to the Dialysis Vascular Access Clinic at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton where she has surgery to remove her peritoneal catheter for a mere two weeks while the infection healed. She shifted briefly to hemodialysis, and within one month, she was back on peritoneal dialysis and independent once more. Her stay on the mainland was reduced from three months to only one.

Throughout all of this, Ms. Corbin was working closely with the pre-transplant program in Easton to make sure she remained eligible for a kidney transplant. Roughly 90-95% of the patients seen in the kidney transplant clinic in Easton are approved for the transplant wait list. More than 80 patients have been transplanted since the clinic opened in Easton, including Ms. Corbin. On September 21, 2013, she received a new kidney at UMMC in Baltimore.

Just since summer 2012, the dialysis vascular access clinic has had more than 400 patient visits, helping people transition from hemodialysis to peritoneal dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis has many benefits including no needles, reduced risk of catheter-based infections and independence for the patient who can administer dialysis on their own without being tied down to a clinical setting.

Surgeons at the clinic also perform procedures for permanent dialysis access or issues like stenosis and access clots. All dialysis access procedures occur in Easton, eliminating a trip to Baltimore for the patient.

For patients like Ms. Corbin, these clinics in Easton have saved her and her husband numerous trips to Baltimore, which take three and a half hours from their Smith Island home. After spending all her life on a remote island, she is more than happy to let the care come to her.

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