Kidneys function to cleanse the body of waste products and regulate the amount of water and electrolytes in the blood. In patients with kidney failure dialysis helps do this, but watching what you eat and drink and following your doctor’s advice about taking medicines are very important. The following information will focus on the dialysis part of your treatment.
Kidney failure is generally irreversible. One option is to have a kidney transplant, but recipients of a transplant usually undergo some form of temporary dialysis. Dialysis is currently practiced in two forms: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
Peritoneal dialysis is conducted through a Tenckhoff catheter (small tube) surgically placed in the abdomen. Dialysis fluid is introduced into the abdomen, allowed to remain for several hours, and then drained away thus removing the body’s waste products.
In hemodialysis, blood is removed through a needle and cleansed by running it through a dialysis machine. The blood is returned to the body through a second needle. You and your nephrologist should discuss the treatment options and together decide which is the best course for you.