By Kathy Penner
Manitoba has one of Canada’s highest rates of diabetes. Since diabetes often leads to kidney disease, we also have the country’s highest rate of kidney disease at 15 per cent—around 30 per cent in the Indigenous population.
Only three per cent of people with kidney disease will experience kidney failure requiring treatment by a specialist (nephrologist). Yet until recently, virtually all Manitobans diagnosed with kidney disease were sent to nephrologists, sometimes waiting several months to be seen, just in case they were among the few who would develop kidney failure.
The good news is that the province has now made diabetes prevention and innovation in treating kidney disease high priorities.
The Chronic Disease Innovation Centre (CDIC) at Seven Oaks Hospital is led by three nephrologists: Drs. Navdeep Tangri, Claudio Rigatto and Paul Komenda. The Centre focuses on identifying better treatment practices for chronic health issues—especially diabetes and kidney disease.
“[The centre] exists to target those types of diseases,” says Dr. Tangri. “That’s where we’ll have the most impact in our…healthcare system.”
Dr. Tangri developed an online algorithm—the Kidney Failure Risk Equation (KFRE)–that predicts a patient’s risk of kidney failure within the next few years. The KFRE has dramatically reduced wait times for those needing to see a specialist by allowing lower-risk patients to continue seeing their regular physician for care and monitoring.
Dr. Rigatto is collaborating with University of Manitoba engineers on a portable kidney disease detection system that could greatly increase screening capacity—especially in remote, high-risk communities.
Dr. Komenda works with the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba on researching ways to implement large-scale screening and care for people in Indigenous communities.
It’s estimated that these and other new treatment approaches may save Manitoba $1.2 million annually.
For more information, read ‘Formula for Better Care’ by Bob Armstrong, WRHA Wave magazine, Sept/Oct 2017, http://wavemag.ca/2017/09/formula-for-better-care.php