Associate Professor of Medicine
Division
Nephrology and Hypertension

Associate Professor of Medicine

Professional Bio

Rachel Fissell, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension within the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The goals of Dr. Fissell’s research are to improve survival and quality of life for patients with End Stage Renal Disease. Her training and background are in epidemiology, statistics, and clinical trial design, particularly in the hemodialysis population. Her contributions in the past have involved sampling large data sets such as the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study, the United States Renal Data System, and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, to test for associations between patient characteristics and practice patterns, and patient outcomes.

Over the past five years, Dr. Fissell’s clinical focus has been hemodialysis, and specifically in-center nocturnal hemodialysis. She has worked with teams at both the Cleveland Clinic and Vanderbilt to add nocturnal shifts to existing daytime programs; we put patients on for eight hours, three nights a week. Her research now focuses on the benefits to patients of longer, more extended treatments. In-center nocturnal hemodialysis seems to allow patients to normalize their sleep wake cycle, liberalize their diet and still maintain normal serum phosphorus levels, and have slower ultrafiltration rates with overall greater fluid removal.

Dr. Fissell’s team is studying factors that are associated with long term patient success with the nocturnal modality. She is also interested in the physiology of longer versus shorter treatments, and whether extending treatment times can modify inflammation, which has been associated with morbidity and mortality in the dialysis population. Finally, Dr. Fissell is interested in learning more about using metrics other than small solute clearance to measure dialysis adequacy.

Education

MS - Statistics and Clinical Trail Design - University of Michigan
Internship - and Residency - University of Maryland
Fellowship - Nephrology - University of Michigan
MD - University of Maryland - 1996