Dialysis is a treatment that helps the body get rid of waste and extra fluids in the blood when the kidneys no longer serve that function. The following information provides more details on dialysis.
- Hemodialysis is a treatment where your blood is cleaned outside your body as it passes through a special filter called an artificial kidney, or dialyzer. A hemodialyzer is used to remove waste and extra chemicals and fluid from your blood. To get your blood into the artificial kidney, the doctor needs to make an access (entrance) into your blood vessels. This is done by minor surgery to your arm or leg. Sometimes, an access is made by joining an artery to a vein under your skin to make a bigger blood vessel called a fistula. However, if your blood vessels are not adequate for a fistula, the doctor may use a soft plastic tube to join an artery and a vein under your skin. This is called a graft. Occasionally, an access is made by means of a narrow plastic tube, called a catheter, which is inserted into a large vein in your neck. This type of access may be temporary, but is sometimes used for long-term treatment. Hemodialysis treatments are typically done three times a week and last about four hours.
- Home Hemodialysis is a portable dialysis machine used by patients at home for treatments four to five times a week. This treatment follows the same procedure as traditional Hemodialysis.
- Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment where your blood is cleaned inside your body with the help of the dialysis solution that is placed into and drained from your abdominal cavity (your belly). The doctor will do surgery to place a plastic tube called a catheter into your abdomen (belly) to make an access. During the treatment, your abdominal area (called the peritoneal cavity) is slowly filled with dialysate through the catheter. The blood stays in the arteries and veins that line your peritoneal cavity. Extra fluid and waste products are drawn out of your blood and into the dialysate.
You can learn more about dialysis here.