What is dialysis?
When kidneys fail, the kidneys stop filtering the blood in your body. This is dangerous to your health because toxins and waste products build up further causing kidney diseases and disorders which can become life threatening.
Dialysis treatment replaces the function of the kidneys, which normally serve as the body’s natural filtration system. Through the use of a blood filter and a chemical solution known as dialysate, dialysis treatment removes waste products and excess fluids from the bloodstream.
There are two types of dialysis treatment: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. In peritoneal dialysis (PD), the filter is the lining of the abdomen, called the peritoneum. In hemodialysis (HD), the filter is a plastic tube filled with millions of hollow fibers, called a dialyzer.
Treatment for hemodialysis typically takes place in an outpatient hemodialysis unit, although hemodialysis may also be administered at home under the right conditions. Patients generally go to the dialysis unit three times a week for treatment. The schedule generally is either Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Before treatment, patients weigh themselves so that excess fluid accumulated since the last dialysis session can be measured. Patients receive treatment on special dialysis chairs similar to recliners. Treatments generally last from three to five hours.
Peritoneal dialysis can be conducted in the patient’s home or in a location which is clean and sanitary.
In peritoneal dialysis, the patient’s peritoneum, or lining of the abdomen, acts as a blood filter. A catheter is surgically inserted into the patient’s abdomen. During treatment, the catheter is used to fill the abdominal cavity with dialysate. Waste products and excess fluids move from the patient’s bloodstream into the dialysate solution. After a waiting period of six to 24 hours, depending on the treatment method used, the waste-filled dialysate is drained from the abdomen and replaced with clean dialysate.