How To Travel with a Kidney Disease

Persons with kidney disease, including both those with damaged or infected kidneys and those who have had one or more kidney transplants, may require dialysis to remove impurities from their blood streams.

Today it is possible for such persons to travel widely with the approval of their physician, thanks to the international availability of Dialysis Centers. Many people with kidney disease now use equipment which permits self or assisted dialysis. For these people, arrangements can be made for the delivery of the cleansing liquids required.

Those whose kidney condition necessitates a low sodium diet must make sure that their travel agent notifies the airline(s) or tour operator they are traveling with and requests low sodium meals or refreshments. The same can be arranged with cruise ships and hotels. This must be done in good time, well before departure, and should be noted on all relevant documents and checked prior to departure. The same should be done when confirming return flights or onward bookings.

A worldwide listing of Dialysis Centers can be obtained by contacting Dialysis and Transplantation, ((2010), Supplement to The List. Dial. Transplant., 39: 527–529. doi: 10.1002/dat.20518) on this link  from Wiley Online Library.

Arrangements for dialysis at these facilities should be made through the Social Worker at the patient’s own dialysis center not less than two months and preferably longer before the date of the first required treatment, as most centers have a fairly full schedule. However, most such centers can provide emergency treatment. SATH can provide limited information for members requesting it concerning dialysis facilities available.

Special tours and cruises are regularly organized by travel agents and tour operators; details of these can be obtained from SATH on request.

Additional Resources

For Patients Only, 20335 Ventura Blvd., Suite 400, Woodland Hills, CA 91364; (818) 704-5555. This bimonthly magazine, geared specifically to kidney patients, focuses mainly on travel and leisure activities. Included in each issue is a guide to dialysis centers worldwide.

National Kidney Foundation, 30 East 33rd St., New York, NY 10016; 855.NKF.CARES (855 653 2273). This organization offers a free listing of overseas dialysis clinics, among other valuable services.

National Listing of Medicare Providers Furnishing Kidney Dialysis and Transplant Services, Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402; (202) 783-3238. This guide to dialysis centers nationwide is available for $7.50. Specify stock #017-060-00477-1.

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