Clinical Focus

  • Nephrology
  • Advanced chronic kidney disease
  • Hypertension
  • Peritoneal Dialysis
  • Home Hemodialysis
  • Prolonged nocturnal dialysis

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Senior Director, Medical Clinical Affairs, Satellite Healthcare (2019 - Present)
  • Director, Medical Clinical Affairs, Satellite Healthcare (2015 - 2019)
  • Medical Director, WellBound San Jose (2015 - 2020)

Honors & Awards

  • Clinical Scientist in Nephrology Fellow, American Kidney Fund (2011)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis (2016 - Present)
  • Member, American Society of Nephrology (2014 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Board Certification, American Board of Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine (2019)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine, Nephrology (2012)
  • Fellowship: Stanford University Nephrology Fellowship (2012) CA
  • Residency: UCSD Internal Medicine Residency (2010) CA
  • Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine (2009)
  • Medical Education: University of California San Diego School of Medicine Registrar (2006) CA

Research & Scholarship

Clinical Trials

  • The EvAluation of TaBlo In-CLinic and In-HOme Recruiting

    The purpose of this study is to evaluate the Tablo Hemodialysis System when used In-Center by trained individuals and In-Home by trained Subjects.

    View full details


All Publications

  • The Peritoneal Dialysis Transfer Set Replacement Procedure. Nephrology nursing journal : journal of the American Nephrology Nurses' Association Funes, I., Velasquez, K., Doss-McQuitty, S., Hussein, W. F., Abra, G., Anantiyo, P., Bennett, P. N., Schiller, B. ; 47 (4): 343?46


    Peritoneal dialysis transfer sets (extension lines) are replaced every six to nine months to minimize peritoneal dialysis catheter complications. The aim of this study was to compare a revised non-bag transfer set exchange procedure with the standard bag exchange procedure on nursing time, costs, and safety. Thirty-three people were randomized to two groups - a standard bag exchange procedure group (n = 16) and a non-bag transfer set exchange procedure group (n = 17). The standard bag exchange procedure took a median of 32 minutes (interquartile range [IQR] 25 to 38 minutes) compared to the non-bag transfer set exchange procedure of 6 minutes (IQR 4 to 8 minutes) (p 0.0001). There was one episode of peritonitis in each group within the 72-hour follow-up period. The average cost of the non-bag transfer set exchange procedure was $24.54 lower, a 37% cost reduction. This study has shown the revised non-bag transfer set replacement procedure appears to be safe, consume less participant and staff time, and decreases costs.

    View details for PubMedID 32830940

  • Outcomes Among Patients With Left Ventricular Assist Devices Receiving Maintenance Outpatient Hemodialysis: A Case Series. American journal of kidney diseases : the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation Franz, D. D., Hussein, W. F., Abra, G., Diskin, C. D., Duggal, V., Teuteberg, J. J., Chang, T. I., Schiller, B. 2020


    RATIONALE & OBJECTIVE: The incidence of left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation as destination therapy for heart failure is increasing and kidney failure requiring maintenance hemodialysis is a common complication. As little is known about the safety or efficacy of outpatient hemodialysis among patients with LVADs, this study sought to describe their clinical course.STUDY DESIGN: Case series of patients with a LVAD undergoing maintenance outpatient hemodialysis whose clinical data were obtained from an electronic medical record.SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: Adults who received an LVAD, survived to hospital discharge, and were subsequently treated with maintenance hemodialysis by a non-profit dialysis provider between 2011 and 2019.RESULTS: Eleven patients were included. Six had a known prior history of chronic kidney disease. Patients underwent outpatient hemodialysis for a mean duration of 165.2 days (range 31-542) during which they were treated with 544 total dialysis sessions. Six of these sessions were stopped early due to dialysis-related adverse events (1.1%). Over 80% of follow-up time was spent out of hospital, however, 54.5% of patients were rehospitalized within one month of starting outpatient hemodialysis. The most common reason for hospitalization was infection (32.1%), followed by hypervolemia (14.3%), and cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or transient ischemic attack (TIA) (10.7%). Four patients recovered kidney function, one underwent combined heart and kidney transplantation, two continued treatment, two died, and two were lost to follow-up.LIMITATIONS: Retrospective design, small number of cases, and lack of complete follow-up data.CONCLUSIONS: Approximately half of the patients with complete follow-up either recovered kidney function or underwent combined heart and kidney transplantation. This case series demonstrates that outpatient hemodialysis centers, in partnership with LVAD treatment teams, can successfully provide hemodialysis to patients on LVAD support.

    View details for DOI 10.1053/j.ajkd.2020.04.018

    View details for PubMedID 32711070

  • Myelin bodies in LMX1B-associated nephropathy: potential for misdiagnosis. Pediatric nephrology (Berlin, Germany) Lei, L., Oh, G., Sutherland, S., Abra, G., Higgins, J., Sibley, R., Troxell, M., Kambham, N. 2020


    BACKGROUND: Myelin figures, or zebra bodies, seen on electron microscopy were historically considered pathognomonic of Fabry disease, a rare lysosomal storage disorder caused by alpha-galactosidase A deficiency and associated with X-linked recessive mode of inheritance. More recently, iatrogenic phospholipidosis has emerged as an important alternate cause of myelin figures in the kidney.METHODS: We report two families with autosomal dominant nephropathy presenting with proteinuria and microscopic hematuria, and the kidney biopsies were notable for the presence of myelin figures and zebra bodies.RESULTS: Laboratory and genetic work-up for Fabry disease was negative. Genetic testing in both families revealed the same heterozygous missense mutation in LMX1B (C.737G>A, p.Arg246Gln). LMX1B mutations are known to cause nail-patella syndrome, featuring dysplastic nails and patella with or without nephropathy, as well as isolated LMX1B-associated nephropathy in the absence of extrarenal manifestations.CONCLUSIONS: LMX1B mutation-associated nephropathy should be considered in hereditary cases of proteinuria and/or hematuria, even in the absence of unique glomerular basement membrane changes indicative of nail-patella syndrome. In addition, LMX1B mutation should be included in the differential diagnosis of myelin figures and zebra bodies on kidney biopsy, so as to avoid a misdiagnosis.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00467-020-04564-w

    View details for PubMedID 32356190

  • Public policy and programs - Missing links in growing home dialysis in the United States. Seminars in dialysis Abra, G., Schiller, B. 2020


    Patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) require dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival and over 760000 patients now benefit from these therapies in the United States. Dialysis in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s was often done in the home. After the advent of Medicare coverage for ESKD in 1972 and the subsequent easier access to center based hemodialysis, the use of home modalities dramatically declined. This stands in contrast to home dialysis uptake in other industrialized healthcare systems where both peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis are more frequently used. Characteristics unique to the US healthcare system as well as the cultures of providers (physicians and dialysis providers) and recipients of ESKD care are hypothesized as the main reasons for observed differences in home dialysis use. To address these issues, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have recently proposed new payment programs under an Executive Order from the President of the United States, with the explicit goal of increasing the number of patients using home dialysis. This perspective outlines policy opportunities and programs with a proven track record of home dialysis growth in other countries or hypothesized promise based on identified barriers and needs.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/sdi.12850

    View details for PubMedID 31943408

  • Safety and efficacy of the Tablo hemodialysis system for in-center and home hemodialysis. Hemodialysis international. International Symposium on Home Hemodialysis Plumb, T. J., Alvarez, L., Ross, D. L., Lee, J. J., Mulhern, J. G., Bell, J. L., Abra, G., Prichard, S. S., Chertow, G. M., Aragon, M. A. 2019


    INTRODUCTION: Home hemodialysis remains underutilized despite observational data indicating more favorable outcomes with home compared with in-center hemodialysis. The Tablo Hemodialysis system is designed to be easy to learn and use and to facilitate adoption of home hemodialysis. The objective of the current investigational device exemption (IDE) study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Tablo managed in-center by health care professionals and in-home by patients and/or caregivers.METHODS: A prospective, multicenter, open-label, crossover trial comparing in-center and in-home hemodialysis using Tablo. There were 4 treatment periods during which hemodialysis was prescribed 4 times per week: 1-week Run-In, 8-week In-Center, 4-week Transition, and 8-week In-Home. The primary efficacy endpoint was weekly standard Kt/Vurea ?2.1. The secondary efficacy endpoint was delivery of ultrafiltration (UF) within 10% of prescribed UF. We collected safety and usability data.FINDINGS: Thirty participants enrolled and 28 completed all trial periods. Adherence to the protocol requirement of 4 treatments per week was 96% in-center and 99% in-home. The average prescribed and delivered session lengths were 3.4hours for both the In-Center and the In-Home periods. The primary efficacy endpoint for the intention-to-treat cohort was achieved in 199/200 (99.5%) of measurements during the In-Center period and 168/171 (98.3%) In-Home. The average weekly standard Kt/Vurea was 2.8 in both periods. The secondary efficacy UF endpoint was achieved in the ITT cohort in 94% in both in-center and in-home. Two prespecified adverse events (AEs) occurred during the In-Center period and 6 in the In-Home period. None of the AEs were deemed by investigators as related to Tablo. The median resolution time of alarms was 8seconds in-center and 5seconds in-home.CONCLUSION: Primary and secondary efficacy and safety endpoints were achieved during both In-Center and In-Home trial periods. This study confirms that Tablo is safe and effective for home hemodialysis use.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/hdi.12795

    View details for PubMedID 31697042

  • The effect of blood flow rate on dialysis recovery time in patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis: A prospective, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial HEMODIALYSIS INTERNATIONAL Duggal, V., Hussein, W. F., Reiterman, M., Sun, S. J., Abra, G. E., Schiller, B. 2019; 23 (2): 223?29

    View details for DOI 10.1111/hdi.12741

    View details for Web of Science ID 000465412100020

  • Timing of initiation of dialysis: time for a new direction? CURRENT OPINION IN NEPHROLOGY AND HYPERTENSION Abra, G., Tamura, M. K. 2012; 21 (3): 329-333


    The past 15 years have seen tremendous growth in the initiation of dialysis at higher levels of kidney function in the setting of mixed evidence and at great societal economic cost. We review recent data on the early dialysis initiation trend, the clinical and economic impact of early dialysis initiation and the future implications for the management of advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD).The percentage of patients who initiate dialysis with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) above 10 ?ml/min/1.73m(2) is now greater than 50%, including 20% who initiate with an eGFR above 15 ml/min/1.73m(2). The drivers behind these findings are probably diverse but recent literature does not seem to support a higher symptom burden among the ageing CKD population as the major cause. The Initiating Dialysis Early And Late (IDEAL) trial provides guidance on the safety of waiting for symptoms or lower levels of estimated glomerular filtration rate prior to beginning dialysis. In addition, economic analyses based on the IDEAL and US Renal Data System findings suggest that significant cost savings could be achieved by reversing the early initiation trend.These findings should help clinicians and policy makers looking to rein in costs while maintaining the quality of CKD care.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/MNH.0b013e328351c244

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302769500014

    View details for PubMedID 22388556

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3458516

  • Reversible hepatic and lipid abnormalities with nonprescription anabolic-androgenic steroid use in 2 HIV-infected men CLINICAL INFECTIOUS DISEASES Abra, G. E., Lonergan, J. T. 2006; 42 (1): 151-152

    View details for Web of Science ID 000233698900030

    View details for PubMedID 16323106

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