Disaster management of chronic dialysis patients

Am J Disaster Med. Mar-Apr 2007;2(2):96-106.


The chronically ill are often the hardest hit by disruptions in the healthcare system--they may be highly dependent on medications or treatments that suddenly become unavailable, they are more physically fragile than the rest of the population, and for socioeconomic reasons they may be more limited in their ability to prepare or react. Medical professionals involved in disaster response should be prepared to care for individuals suffering from the complications of chronic illness, and they must have some idea of how to do so with limited resources. Dialysis-dependent, end-stage renal disease patients are at especially high risk following disasters. Infrastructure damage may make dialysis impossible for days, and few physicians have experience or training in the nondialytic management of end-stage renal disease. Nondialytic management strategies include dietary restrictions, aggressive attempts at potassium removal via resins and cathartics, and adaptations of acute treatment strategies. Appropriate planning and stockpiling of medications such as Kayexalate are critical to minimizing morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / organization & administration*
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Renal Dialysis*