Dialysis is a means of removing toxic substances (impurities or wastes) from the blood when your kidneys are unable to do so. Dialysis is usually used for patients who have kidney failure.
There are two main types of dialysis:
Peritoneal dialysis works by using your body's peritoneal membrane (located inside the abdomen) as a semi-permeable membrane. Solutions that remove toxins are let into the body, remain in your abdomen for a specific time period, and are then drained out. This form of dialysis must be performed everyday. It is sometimes appropriate to do this at home. Your Northwest Kidney Centers physician can discuss whether this treatment option is appropriate for you.
Hemodialysis works by circulating the blood through special filters outside your body. Blood flows across a semi-permeable membrane (called the dialyzer) with solutions that help remove toxins.
Because hemodialysis requires a blood flow larger than a regular IV tube would allow, dialysis uses unique ways of accessing the blood in the blood vessels. This access can be temporary (dialysis catheters) or permanent (surgically joining an artery to a vein.).
Blood is then taken from the access point in the patient's body to a dialysis machine. Chemical imbalances and impurities in your blood are corrected and the blood is then returned to your body. Typically, most patients undergo hemodialysis for three sessions every week. This type of treatment takes place at a dialysis center, and each session lasts about three to four hours. Northwest Kidney Centers locations offer patients a variety of amenities to make each session more comfortable.