Desperate people seek desperate remedies
The treatment alternatives available to Australians with endstage kidney failure are dialysis, transplantation or no active treatment. The last of these options allows kidney failure to progress spontaneously to uraemia and death. Over the past decade the number of Australians on dialysis has grown by 6% per annum, adding an additional $25 million yearly to healthcare expenditure.1 This growth is caused by both increasing numbers of people entering dialysis programs and a low rate of transplantation because of a shortage of donor kidneys. Kidney availability in Australia remains low and, if anything, is worsening, with only 6.8% of those on dialysis receiving transplants in 2002, compared with 11.7% a decade earlier.1
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