Dialysis is a kidney replacement option that does some of the things healthy kidneys do. It is needed when your own kidneys fail or can no longer function well enough to take care of your body’s needs. Patients have choices when preparing for dialysis. It is important to understand your options and start the conversation early with your health care team.
Hemodialysis (Hemo) – uses a machine to clean waste from your blood. Your blood flows on one side of a natural or artificial membrane, with special fluid on the other side. The membrane permits waste molecules (extra fluid, electrolytes, etc.) that have built up in the blood to pass into the fluid and be removed, thus cleaning your blood.
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) – a type of dialysis that removes extra fluid, electrolytes and wastes using the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum). PD requires a soft plastic tube be surgically placed in your belly. A sterile cleansing fluid is then put into your belly via the tube to filter the fluid.
How will I choose the dialysis type for me?
When your kidney function has declined to the point that replacement therapy is needed, your doctor and the dialysis team will discuss in detail all the options available to you. When you get close to needing dialysis, you’ll take a tour of the dialysis facilities, and talk to others on dialysis and the nursing staff to get a sense of what will work best for you.