Dialysis is a
mechanical process that performs the work that healthy kidneys would do. It
clears wastes and extra fluid from the body and restores the proper balance of
chemicals (electrolytes) in the blood. When
chronic kidney disease becomes so severe that your
kidneys are no longer working properly, you may need dialysis. You may use
dialysis to replace the work of the kidneys for many years. Or dialysis may be a
short-term measure while you are waiting for a kidney transplant.
two types of dialysis used to treat severe chronic kidney disease are
peritoneal dialysis .
- Hemodialysis uses a man-made membrane
called a dialyzer to clean your blood. You are connected to the dialyzer by
tubes attached to your blood vessels. Before hemodialysis treatments can begin,
a surgeon creates a site where blood can flow in and out of your body. This is
called the dialysis access. Usually the doctor creates the access by joining an
artery and a vein in the forearm or by using a small tube to connect an artery
and a vein. An access may be created on a short-term basis by putting a small
tube into a vein in your neck, upper chest, or groin.
- Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your belly, which is called the
peritoneal membrane, to filter your blood. Before you
can begin peritoneal dialysis, a surgeon needs to place a catheter in your
belly to create the dialysis access.
For more information about dialysis, see:
- Kidney Failure: What Type of Dialysis Should I Have?
What to think about
you have severe chronic kidney disease but have not yet developed
kidney failure, talk to your doctor about which type
of dialysis would be best for you.
Learning about dialysis (predialysis education) is an important step in
preparing for dialysis. Most dialysis clinics offer predialysis services to
help you know about your choices.
Both types of dialysis can be expensive. But
Medicare or insurance may cover most of the costs. Check with your insurance company or
Medicare about your coverage. The dialysis center or hospital can help you find
the best way to pay for your treatment.