What happened in Finland to increase home hemodialysis?

Hemodial Int. 2008 Jul:12 Suppl 1:S11-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-4758.2008.00289.x.


Finland is geographically a rather large country with a relatively sparse population (5.3 million). Home hemodialysis (HHD) was started in Helsinki 40 years ago and in the early years it was only used in selected patients. However, by the late 1980s HHD almost disappeared owing to the advent of CAPD and new HD centers. Towards the end of the 1990s, it became evident that PD had limitations and new ways had to be found to individualize HD, improve the outcome, increase capacity, and limit the growth of costs of HD. After careful planning, HHD was reinstituted at the Helsinki University Hospital in 1998 and since then the program has grown steadily. By December 31, 2007, altogether 163 patients had started at home. This has required changes in the predialysis program where the "home first" policy was adopted. Other important features include close cooperation with other nephrological centers as well as centralized HHD training that also supports more remote hospitals. Since then this therapy has been started in several other academic and in some smaller hospitals, and at the end of last year about 4% of all Finnish dialysis patients (n=1.600) were on HHD (prevalence 11.8/million). In the Helsinki metropolitan area this treatment is the most economical modality (estimated annual global costs euro37.000), comparable to self-care satellite HD and CAPD. A successful HHD program requires a well-organized predialysis program, a highly motivated multidisciplinary team, and well-developed training networks.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Health Care Costs
  • Hemodialysis, Home / economics
  • Hemodialysis, Home / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hemodialysis, Home / trends*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / economics
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*