What is Dialysis, and Do I need it?


When your Kidneys begin to fail dialysis may become a treatment recommend by your nephrologist. Patients who have Chronic Kidney Disease can reach a certain point where their Kidneys Fail. When your kidney disease reaches Stage 4 (severe, with glomerular filtration rate, or GFR, less than 30 mL/min). Dialysis is a process where a special fluid called dialysate (a mixture of pure water and chemicals) is carefully controlled to pull wastes out of your blood without removing substances your body needs. A partially permeable membrane acts like a strainer that keeps the blood apart from the dialysate, by only allowing smaller particles through. This membrane lets the wastes and fluid in your blood to flow through into the dialysate. Your blood cells and larger molecules, like protein that you need, cannot fit through the holes. There are two main types of kidney dialysis: hemodialysis (HD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD).

Hemodialysis (HD) During hemodialysis, two needles are inserted into your arm through the access site and taped in place to remain secure. Each needle is attached to a flexible plastic tube that connects to a dialyzer. Through one tube, the dialyzer filters your blood a few ounces at a time, allowing wastes and extra fluids to pass from your blood into a cleansing fluid. The filtered blood returns to your body through the second tube. This treatment is performed in one our local Dialysis centers.

Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) A cleansing fluid flows through a tube (catheter) into part of your abdomen and filters waste products from your blood. After a set amount of time, the fluid with filtered waste products, flows out of your abdomen and is discarded. This treatment differs in that it can be performed at home.

Your Dialysis Treatment needs may vary. You and your nephrologist will discuss your individual care needs and determine which Dialysis treatment may be right for you. Please call our office and schedule an appointment to review your possible treatment options.