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Wake Forest Opens New Dialysis Center at Lake Norman

Lake Norman Dialysis Center of Wake Forest University will open on Monday (Aug. 7) to serve kidney dialysis patients from southern Iredell and northern Mecklenburg counties.

It is located at 164 Professional Park Drive near the Lake Normal Regional Medical Center, and just off Interstate 77.

Lake Norman Dialysis Center will be the eighth facility operated by Wake Forest University School of Medicine and managed by Health Systems Management of Tifton, Ga.

The center will open with 10 dialysis stations, and 32 patients will move from the group''s Statesville facility, which has become overcrowded, said Vardaman M. Buckalew Jr., professor of internal medicine (nephrology). "They will be closer to home," he said.

Besides Statesville, Wake Forest operates six other centers - two in Winston-Salem, one south of the Piedmont Triad International Airport, and one each in High Point, Mt. Airy and Lexington. "We also provide medical coverage for patients in the dialysis unit in North Wilkesboro," Buckalew said. That unit is owned by Wilkes Regional Medical Center.

Patients on dialysis are suffering from chronic kidney failure, which results from the destruction of the kidney by a host of diseases - such as diabetes and uncontrolled high blood pressure. When it progresses to the point at which the kidneys are functioning at less than 10 percent of capacity, then without dialysis or kidney transplantation, complications are multiple and severe, and death will occur from accumulation of fluids and waste products in the body.

John M. Burkart, professor of internal medicine (nephrology), is medical director and Alex Kemp is Chief Executive Officer of Health Systems Management.

Buckalew noted that in addition to patient care, the dialysis centers are also heavily used for research including clinical trials financed both by the National Institutes of Health and private industry. And they are used in the training program for physicians participating in the nephrology fellowship.

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