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Dr. Rick Austin (above) kicks off the World Kidney Day event at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.

World Kidney Day is an international awareness campaign that reminds us about the importance of our kidneys. Our kidneys remove toxins and waste from our bodies, produce hormones, and regulate fluid and mineral levels in our body. Without the function of their kidneys, patients are placed on dialysis – a medical system that artificially replaces vital kidney functions.

To celebrate World Kidney Day on March 10th, our nephrologists, laboratory scientists and students have hosted an event that highlights the innovative kidney care and research that St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton provides.

Nearly 1.3 million Canadians suffer from moderate to severe forms of kidney disease. Across Canada, approximately 23,000 people are currently on dialysis.

As national leaders in kidney care and research, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is home to one of the largest regional kidney programs in the province. Our hospital supports over 2,000 patients with end-stage renal disease and operates four dialysis clinics at Charlton Campus, King Campus, Six Nations Health Services and the Brant Community Healthcare System.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is also home to the second largest kidney transplantation program in Ontario – conducting over 100 kidney transplants per year and following over 1,200 successful transplant patients.

The partnership between St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the Niagara Health System allows our organizations to serve patients from across the Hamilton-Niagara-Haldimand-Brant LHIN.

Together, both organizations form one of the largest regional renal programs in the country, providing hemodialysis to over 850 patients in hospital, and home dialysis to over 240 patients across the region.

Our World Kidney Day event also focused our leadership in kidney research. In collaboration with the McMaster Division of Nephrology, kidney research at St. Joe’s has rapidly expanded across Hamilton.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is the home of the Hamilton Centre for Kidney Research (HKCR), which combines expertise in clinical and basic research to reduce the risk of kidney disease and its complications. Over the last decade, the HCKR has developed from a single nephrologist to include four Clinician-Scientist Investigators, four PhD scientists and more than 45 research staff and trainees.

Dr. Christine Ribic (above) discusses new practices in kidney transplantation.

The event highlighted some of the new strides made in kidney disease research at St. Joe’s. Dr. Christine Ribic spoke about how new advancements in transplantation result in a faster, safer and more accessible kidney transplantations for those receiving transplants within Canada. 

Dr. Gabriel Gyulay discussed how new laboratory findings at St. Joe’s can lead to novel treatments for vascular calcification – a common complication of kidney disease that results in the hardening of blood vessels.

Graduate students Richard Van Krieken and Zahraa Mohammed-Ali presented their research on diabetic kidney disease and cardio-renal syndrome – showing how kidney disease affects the body at the cellular level.

New research on kidney disease and its complications will help nephrologists and clinicians at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton to provide better and safer care for patients diagnosed with these ailments. The impact of such investigations will also lead to new treatment development and clinical interventions for those diagnosed with reduced kidney function across Canada.


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