August 19, 2013

What are the different types of dialysis?

The two main types of dialysis, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis removes wastes and water by circulating blood outside the body through an external filter, called a dialyzer, that contains a semipermeable membrane. Hemodialyis is usually conducted in an outpatient dialysis treatment center three times per week, with treatment times between 3 to 6 hours.

Hemodialysis may also be conducted at home. A small but growing number of clinics offer home HD in addition to standard HD treatments. The patient starts learning to do treatments at the clinic, working with a dialysis nurse. Most people who do home HD have helpers who train with them at the clinic. The helper can be a family member, neighbor, or close friend. Some programs do not require a helper if the patient can do all the tasks alone.

In peritoneal dialysis, wastes and water are removed from the blood inside the body using the peritoneal membrane as a natural semi-permeable membrane. Wastes and excess water move from the blood, across the peritoneal membrane, and into a special dialysis solution, called dialysate, in the abdominal cavity which has a composition similar to the fluid portion of blood.

The peritoneal membrane is a layer of tissue containing blood vessels that lines and surrounds the peritoneal, or abdominal, cavity. The dialysate is left there for a period of time to absorb waste products, and then it is drained out through the tube and discarded. This cycle or “exchange” is normally repeated 4-5 times during the day. Peritoneal dialysis is carried out at home by the patient.

Posted in: Definitions