Dialysis can do the important work of your kidneys, when your own kidneys no longer can do the job.

People need dialysis when they have end-stage kidney failure. Dialysis is a safe and effective way to remove your body’s wastes and keep it in balance.

What is dialysis?

Dialysis is an artificial way of cleansing the blood when your kidneys can no longer do it. Dialysis does not cure kidney failure. People who need dialysis depend on it for the rest of their lives, unless they have a kidney transplant.

Patients who have suffered from end stage renal disease (kidney failure) need something to filter waste, salt and water from their blood. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

Where is dialysis treatment done?

Depending on the treatment type, dialysis may be done in a variety of settings:

  • Hospital
  • Dialysis unit at a clinic
  • Home

Dialysis treatments

There are different kinds of dialysis treatments.

Choosing the right treatment is important. Talk to your provider about the treatment options.

Peritoneal dialysis needs to be done daily. This process is usually done while the patient is sleeping at home.

Peritoneal dialysis is done with a solution that is put into the abdominal cavity by a permanent catheter. The patient will undergo surgery to have the catheter placed.

  • The solution goes into the abdominal cavity and enters the small blood vessels there.
  • The fluid then absorbs the waste the patient's body created.
  • The fluid then is then drained from the abdominal cavity.

Most people need to do dialysis treatments three times per week.

  • An artificial kidney machine is attached to the patient. This is done by making an access point in the patient’s arm, leg or neck. These are called fistulas or grafts.
  • The patient's blood goes into the artificial kidney where waste, extra chemicals and fluids are removed.
  • The blood is then returned to the body.

The procedure takes about three to four hours to complete.