The fragmented care of nephrology patients that results from referral to a radiologist for renal ultrasound (US) and biopsy, a surgeon for dialysis access placement, and an interventional radiologist for dialysis catheter placement and vascular access procedures often leads to delays in the treatment of these patients. Many specialists perform and interpret sonograms particular to their specialty rather than relying on technicians for performance and radiologists for interpretation, and nephrologists recently have begun to embrace this technology as an aid in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. By combining an understanding of the pathophysiology of renal disease with the ability to perform clinical correlation and apply the laboratory data, the nephrologist is ideally suited to perform and interpret renal US and US guidance for percutaneous renal biopsies. Additionally, patients requiring peritoneal dialysis (PD) access have traditionally been referred to a general surgeon for catheter placement, which incurs additional delay in therapy and loss of decision-making control by the referring nephrologist. Recent data has emphasized that the peritoneal dialysis access procedure can be performed safely and effectively by a nephrologist trained in PD access procedures. Nephrologists also successfully perform tunneled hemodialysis catheter placement and vascular access procedures on an outpatient basis. The medical needs of patients with renal disease can be safely and efficiently delivered by a nephrologist trained in interventional nephrology (IN). This growing area of expertise will minimize delays, reduce cost, and allow physicians with training in the management of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients to be involved in the procedural aspects of their patients' care. An aggressive approach to the development of IN training programs at academic centers is warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)