Conor’s Story of Independence
With a determined spirit and support from his family, this young kidney disease patient is overcoming difficult personal challenges. He is also the very first patient to go directly from hospital hemodialysis to managing his treatments at home, both on Tablo—and in only seven days.
Conor, 33, grew up in Stony Brook in Long Island, New York, as part of a big, close-knit family. He is also an avid golfer, and enjoys spending time with his dog Rosie, reading, cooking, cycling, and playing and writing music. He has also been battling serious issues with his health, including kidney disease.
Conor’s kidney disease journey has been arduous and caused by several factors ongoing in his personal life. In college, he was very active in sports such as lacrosse, and was taking pre-workout supplements that may have contributed to kidney damage. Most impactful on his health, however, is that Conor developed an exercise addiction along with a serious eating disorder, following a difficult break-up. While living in Florida from 2011 to 2016 and working for an investment firm, he rode his bike for about eight hours a day, every day, for a period of about two and half years. He also wasn’t sleeping.
“Exercise became a huge crutch for me, and a way to get out whatever anxieties or feelings I had. That then morphed into an eating disorder, where I went from about 220 pounds to 135 pounds in less than four months,” he explains.
He moved back to New York in 2016, and his family—he is the youngest of six siblings—helped him to realize that his lifestyle and health wasn’t sustainable, and he was referred to a nephrologist.
“That doctor wanted to put me on dialysis right away, and my family and I were not thrilled with that prospect,” he says. He was then connected to another nephrologist, who along with his nursing team was very compassionate and caring, and Conor liked them a lot. They were determined to try and preserve as much of Conor’s kidney function that was left, in the hopes that he could get a kidney transplant and avoid having to go on dialysis altogether.
During this period, however, from 2018 through 2021, Conor’s health was not good. He was in the emergency room about every two weeks, receiving treatment including intravenous fluids for dehydration and a severe electrolyte imbalance. “But that was no way to live, I always had a backpack ready to go to the hospital,” he says.
The reality was that he was still battling an eating disorder that was a major contributor to his kidney issues. His kidney function kept lowering, with creatinine levels of up to 19, and unstable potassium, magnesium and sodium levels. Also, because of these serious health concerns, he didn’t qualify for the kidney transplant wait list.
Intro to Home Hemodialysis
The prospect of dialysis, that had been pushed off for several years, finally became real for Conor. In December 2021, he was in the hospital again for his electrolyte issues, and he and his family met with his nephrologist. He told them that they had done as much as they could, and Conor needed to start dialysis. He and his team then said that there might be an option for him to transition directly to home hemodialysis, if that was something he was interested in.
I didn’t really understand what the heck they were talking about. I wondered if I was even going to be able to do it,” says Conor. “I was used to seeing the machines at the hospital, and they were these monstrosities. They looked like Transformers. But they told me about a new machine, the Tablo® Hemodialysis System, that is easy to learn and use at home, and my doctor can monitor treatments in real time.”
His care team wheeled in a compact Tablo console and showed him how it worked, how the touchscreen incorporates 3D animations and step-by-step instructions, and that the system only needed tap water and an electrical outlet to operate.
They also explained that he could treat at home on a schedule that works best for him. “They told me I would need a care partner, and gratefully both my mom and aunt were willing to do that. We would also need to have an area in my home in which to do treatment.”
Conor notes that his nephrologist and nursing team never pressured him to choose one type of treatment over another. “It was always, ‘this has to work for you, it has to be a team effort, and it has to be something that you’re okay with because at the end of the day this is what you have to do. If it’s easier for you to just come into a center and turn your brain off for a few hours, you can do that.’”
His care team then gave him some materials to take home and read about Tablo and what he could expect from home dialysis. He and his family then decided to move forward.
“We hit the ground running, with a short but thorough training period for all three of us, and I started home treatments in January of this year,” Conor says.
The Very First Acute-to-Home Tablo Patient—in Only Seven Days
He and his care team are proud to say that because of his desire to manage his treatments at home, Conor was the very first patient in the U.S. to make a direct transition from acute dialysis on Tablo in the hospital to home dialysis on Tablo, within just seven days, without ever needing to step foot in a dialysis center. (Home hemodialysis has been shown in studies to offer patients better flexibility and control, along with a reduction in post-dialysis recovery time and lower mortality in comparison to in-center dialysis, among other benefits. Compare modalities here).
Conor was the very first patient in the U.S. to make a direct transition from acute dialysis on Tablo in the hospital to home dialysis on Tablo, within just seven days, without ever needing to step foot in a dialysis center.
“My nurse and Outset team were there to make sure I was comfortable with safely accessing my blood lines through the port in my chest, and with all aspects of running the machine,” he says. “The whole team is remarkable. I can always reach them any time I have a question or issue.”
Conor explains that treating on his Tablo device is a very personalized and reassuring experience. “The machine is Wi-Fi-connected so that your care team can see what’s going on, which is super helpful. And the touchscreen instructions are clear and simple. If the machine alarms, it tells you what the issue is, and you fix it. The ability to be so dynamic and fluid is such an added benefit.” He treats four days a week, three hours a day, usually on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Now, 10 months after starting on home hemodialysis, Conor says he is doing well and feeling better. So much so, that since he’s been treating at home on Tablo he hasn’t had to go back to the ER. He is also in recovery from his eating disorder and working with psychiatrists in order to manage the issue. Both are significant achievements, considering the status of his health just a year ago.
“Tablo has been a game changer for sure,” he says. “I’m usually up and running after treatment. I can do what I need to do. If I want to go play 18 holes of golf, I can do that. I also have to thank my mother and my aunt, as they have been a huge help in this in making sure that I’m doing well.”
“Tablo has opened up a lot of my free time, and I can be active and present with my family, that wasn’t possible when I was sitting in a hospital bed,” he continues. “It’s been overall a homerun of an experience.”
He also highly recommends Tablo to other patients who might be on the fence about home dialysis. “You’re going to get a quality of life back that I don’t think you realize how much you missed it, until you regain it. It unlocks a level of independence that I dismissed early on, because I figured, I’m on dialysis, and the perception is that your life is essentially over. And that’s definitely not the case with Tablo.”
“You’re going to get a quality of life back that I don’t think you realize how much you missed it, until you regain it.”
Conor also says that the Outset team has been a critical part of his journey and success. “They really do care about what kind of service they’re providing, and the health and well-being of their patients. It’s pretty remarkable because I’ve dealt with a lot of people throughout the healthcare system. With Outset, it’s been almost breathtaking how much that they actually do care. That’s really heartwarming. As a patient, you definitely don’t feel like a number, you feel like a person.”
(Note: Image at the top of this page shows Conor treating on his Tablo at home. The touchscreen image is blurred to protect patient privacy.)
Tablo Hemodialysis System Disclaimer:
Results may vary. Keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information. It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications, and benefits of this product with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician’s judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment.