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About the nephrology-renal dialysis unit
The Nephrology Department – dialysis unit treats patients with acute and chronic kidney problems at all 3 sites: the St-Elisabeth site, the St-Michel site and Bella Vita Medical Center.
The patients are then cared for by the consultation service and in the hospitalisation unit. The Nephrology Department – dialysis unit also has an extensive dialysis department, that offers all the existing dialysis techniques (dialysis both in hospital and at home).
A skilled and motivated team of nephrologists and specialist nurses are ready to help kidney patients. The Nephrology Department – dialysis unit also has a team of administrative and logistic assistants, dieticians and social workers who can assist patients in all areas.
Nephrology Department consultations take place at 4 sites:
- St-Elisabeth site in Ukkel (Europe Hospitals)
- St-Michel site in Etterbeek (Europe Hospitals)
- Bella Vita Medical Center in Waterloo (Europe Hospitals): Dr Register F. and Dr Broughton A.
- MCH Wezembeek-Oppem: Dr Smets L.
In collaboration with the Urology Department, there is also a ‘kidney stone clinic', where you can schedule a specific consultation aimed at the prevention of kidney stones [you can download the Stone Clinic brochure in French or in Dutch]. Doctor responsible: Dr Clerbaux G.
The St-Elisabeth site has a Nephrology hospitalisation department (unit 35) where kidney patients can be admitted. The St-Michel site does not have a separate Nephrology hospitalisation department, but there is a close collaboration with the various internal medicine departments to ensure strict monitoring of the kidney patients.
In addition, we are always available at the various hospital sites to advise patients with kidney problems.
WHAT IS NEPHROLOGY?
The kidneys are vital organs that have various functions in our body: they remove excess water and waste from the body and regulate the levels of numerous mineral salts (including sodium, potassium and calcium) in our blood. In addition, they play a role in the blood pressure control and the creation of red blood cells.
With the emergence of a kidney disease, the patients are usually asymptomatic. There may be occasional symptoms, including high blood pressure, swollen feet, blood in the urine or other urinary symptoms. These then lead to blood and urine tests, which may show up a kidney disease. A severe kidney disease may be accompanied by symptoms like fatigue, itching, or loss of appetite.
Finding the exact cause of the kidney disorder is a key factor in the monitoring and treatment of kidney disease. It may be diagnosed based on blood and urine testing, as well as imaging of the kidneys (ultrasound, test scans). To reach a diagnosis, it may be necessary to perform a kidney biopsy, for which a small fraction of kidney tissue is collected for microscopical testing.
With an extremely decreased kidney function, a treatment based on medication and diet may not be sufficient to keep the blood clean and remove the water from the body. If that is the case, the kidney function must be replaced by dialysis (artificial kidney treatment). There are two types of dialysis: haemodialysis (blood dialysis, in the hospital or at home) and peritoneal dialysis (peritoneal lavage dialysis, in the home environment). It is possible to get help from a homecare nurse in a home setting.
The Renal Failure Centre advises patients with a severe kidney disease by giving information on kidney disease and dialysis. Patients are also advised in their choice of specific dialysis technique and preparation for dialysis. Together we try to find the dialysis technique that best suits their lifestyle and medical condition.
In certain cases, patients with severe kidney failure may be eligible for a kidney transplant. Various exams are needed prior to this decision, to verify if this procedure will be feasible for and beneficial to the patient.
If you are a kidney patient and meet certain requirements, you can benefit from the Chronic Renal Care Program (Zorgtraject Chronische Nierinsufficiëntie). This is an agreement between the patient, family doctor, nephrologist and sickness insurance fund, for purposes of maintaining the kidney function. It offers several benefits for kidney patients, including compensation for dietary consultations, reimbursement of a blood pressure gauge and direct reimbursement of certain medicines. For additional information, do not hesitate to contact your family doctor or nephrologist, or to visit the following website: www.zorgtraject.be.
- For more information about the Chronic Renal Care Program: www.zorgtraject.be
- Information about choice of dialysis technique: www.dialysekeuze.be
- Patient associations
- Federation of Belgian associations for renal failure, non-profit association (Federatie van Belgische Verenigingen voor Nierinsufficiënten vzw): www.fenier-fabir.be