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New Ambulatory Center Offers Kidney Failure Patients Quick Care

A new ambulatory care center now allows kidney failure patients in the Boston area to receive quick, expert care when life-threatening complications prevent them from receiving dialysis.

BOSTON -- A new ambulatory care center now allows kidney failure patients in the Boston area to receive quick, expert care when life-threatening complications prevent them from receiving dialysis.

The Advanced Vascular Care Center opened this month at 116 Brighton Avenue in Brighton. It is staffed by board-certified surgeons and interventional radiologists who are Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The Center's sole focus is monitoring and correcting "vascular access" complications so that patients with severe kidney problems are able to receive dialysis on a timely basis.

Dialysis is a treatment that cleanses the blood in place of normally functioning kidneys. Typically administered two or three times a week, it sustains end-stage renal disease patients while they await kidney transplants. The patient's blood is removed from the body through tubes, filtered in a dialysis machine and returned. The connection between the tube and the patient's blood vessels is called the vascular access. It may fail for several reasons, including clotting and infections.

"Dialysis is complex, and the patient's health depends on the access working well," said Douglas Hanto, Chief of the Division of Transplantation at Beth Israel Deaconess and Medical Director of the Advanced Vascular Care Center. "Unfortunately, problems do occur, as often as several times a year for some patients. Our goal is to prevent as many access failures as possible by identifying and correcting problems early."

When access fails, patients typically seek treatment in the nearest hospital emergency department, Hanto said. Lengthy delays often occur while surgeons are located and operating room time is secured. This can lead to missed dialysis and unnecessary hospitalizations that inconvenience the patients and their families and add avoidable cost."

"The Advanced Vascular Care Center believes that proactive care and monitoring is the best way to head off problems," Hanto said. "When problems do occur, we correct them immediately, get the patient back on dialysis quickly and return the patient to the care of his or her own doctor."

The Center -- the only ambulatory facility of its kind in the Boston area - performs minimally invasive procedures. The Center's services include vein mapping to prepare patients for surgical creation of a vascular access; monitoring the vascular access with ultrasound and other techniques; balloon dilation of narrowed veins; clot removal; and related procedures.

A one-story building formerly used for light industry, the Center received a complete, $3 million renovation before opening its doors as the Advanced Vascular Care Center. Currently, one procedure room is in use with capacity for two more. A short walk from Union Square, Brighton, the Center is accessible by public transportation and provides free on-site parking. The staff plans to offer educational and training programs for doctors, nurses and patients in a well-equipped, onsite conference room.

"The Center is a beautiful, modern facility that puts the focus on the patient," said Peggy Fox, a 72-year-old dialysis patient from Brookline whose vascular access graft became clotted before she went to the Center to have it corrected. "Everybody was wonderful, very understanding, and they would explain what they were going to do. The wait was very short. It was excellent service."

The Center welcomes referrals. Please call 617-783-5200.