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Dialysis is a process that filters wastes from the blood when your kidneys can no longer do the job. It is not a cure, but it can help you live longer and feel better. It is a lifesaving treatment when you have kidney failure.
Normal kidneys work 24 hours a day to clean wastes from your blood. Your kidneys are not able to do this job, so a process called dialysis will do some of the work for your kidneys. You and your doctor will decide which type of dialysis you should have. Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your belly (peritoneum) to filter your blood. You can do it at home, on a daily basis. Hemodialysis uses a man-made filter called a dialyzer to clean your blood. Most people need to go to a hospital or clinic 3 days a week for several hours each time. Sometimes hemodialysis can be done at home.
It is normal to have questions about your treatment, and you have a right to know what is happening to you. Learning about dialysis can help you take an active role in your treatment. Dialysis does not cure kidney disease, but it can help you live longer and feel better. You will need to follow your diet and treatment schedule carefully.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your belly (or peritoneal membrane) to filter your blood. Before you can begin peritoneal dialysis, your doctor will need to place a thin tube called a catheter in your belly. This is the dialysis access.
Hemodialysis uses a man-made membrane called a dialyzer to clean your blood. You are connected to the dialyzer by tubes attached to your blood vessels. Before you start hemodialysis, your doctor will create a site where the blood can flow in and out of your body during your dialysis sessions. This site is called the vascular access. It may be a fistula, made by connecting an artery and a vein. Or it may be a graft, which is a tube implanted under your skin.
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Current as of: August 11, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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