Dialysis

There are two types of dialysis: haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

Which is the best dialysis for me?

It is important to discuss your dialysis options in the clinic where you will be able to ask questions. Some of the factors that will affect your choice may include your family and work circumstances and any other medical conditions you may have. You will find more information about each treatment below and in the links, to help you make that choice. 

What is peritoneal dialysis?

This is a form of dialysis that we teach you to do yourself at home. The peritoneum is a natural membrane lining your abdomen and surrounding most of your organs. It has a very good blood supply and can be used as a filter.

To have PD, a small, soft, plastic tube (called a catheter) is inserted into your abdomen. This allows dialysis fluid to be drained in and out of the peritoneal cavity. The peritoneum holds the dialysis fluid within your abdomen. This is usually between one and a half and two and a half litres (about two and a half to four and a half pints). The amount depends on your size and how much dialysis you need.

Waste products are passed from your blood, across your peritoneal membrane, and absorbed into the dialysis fluid. When the fluid is drained out again it takes waste and extra fluid out of your body.

Dialysis is happening all the time because there is fluid in your abdomen until the next ‘exchange’. The fluid needs to be changed regularly. This can be done either by hand four times a day (known as CAPD) or by a machine overnight (known as APD).

You can read more about peritoneal dialysis here.

What is haemodialysis?

Haemo means blood. Dialysis means to clean. In haemodialysis blood flows out of your body, round a dialysis machine, through a dialyser, which cleans it and then it returns to your body. Haemodialysis can be carried out:

  • at home
  • independently at a community dialysis unit (self-care)
  • with nursing assistance in a community or hospital unit.

You can read more about haemodialysis here.

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