What is dialysis?

When your kidneys fail to function properly and are unable to remove the toxins and wastes from your body, dialysis may be the next step. Dialysis is a treatment which removes the harmful waste and excess fluid from the body. The good news is that thousands of people receive dialysis treatments each year and are able to continue to work and maintain lifestyle activities.

There are three types of dialysis available:

  1. In-center hemodialysis
  2. Home hemodialysis
  3. Home peritoneal dialysis

During a hemodialysis treatment, you will be connected to a dialysis machine that mechanically separates the important components of your blood – red and white blood cells, for example – from harmful wastes, such as salt and urea.

The dialysis machine simply re-circulates your cleaned blood back into your body while filtering out the harmful products. Hemodialysis treatments can be done in an outpatient dialysis center or in the comfort of your own home.

Peritoneal dialysis is another form of dialysis which is done at home. With peritoneal dialysis, a catheter is placed in the abdomen. A special dialysis fluid is put through the catheter and allowed to sit in the abdomen for a period of time.

A membrane in the abdomen filters out the wastes and excess fluids. The fluid is then drained and new solution is placed in the abdomen.

We encourage you to learn about the various types of dialysis treatments available and select a treatment that best suits your lifestyle. Our goal is to prepare you for dialysis by attending educational classes and seeing a surgeon before you actually need dialysis. This will avoid urgent and unplanned dialysis in a hospital or emergency room.