Your kidneys are vital organs that removes waste from your blood and body, including extra salt and fluid, through your urine. When kidneys stop functioning normally, a condition called kidney or renal failure (also known as ESRD) occurs. Treatment for kidney or renal failure includes two options in kidney transplant and dialysis.

Overview of dialysis

Dialysis helps to keep the chemicals in your body balanced by removing excess waste from your blood. Dialysis functions similar to a water filter by surgically implanting a small device to rid your body of extra salt or other materials and letting clean blood circulate through your body.

Types of dialysis

There are two types of dialysis in peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis. Here is more information about each type:

  • Peritoneal dialysis: This form of dialysis involves placing a soft, hollow tube into the lower abdomen near the belly button. Once the tube has been safely placed, a solution called dialysate is able to flow into the peritoneal cavity (the space in the abdomen where the organs are, lined by two layers of membrane called the peritoneum). The dialysate fluid absorbs the waste products and toxins through the peritoneum. The fluid is then drained from the abdomen, measured, and discarded.

    The two categories of peritoneal dialysis are continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and continuous cyclic peritoneal dialysis (CCPD). CAPD does not require a machine, and can be done three to five times a day. CCPD, on the other hand, requires the use of a special dialysis machine that can be used in the home. This type of dialysis can be done while someone is asleep.

  • Hemodialysis: Hemodialysis is done in a dialysis center or hospital by trained health care professionals. A device called an arteriovenous (AV) fistula is placed surgically in the arm. The AV fistula joins an artery and a vein together and connects to a large hemodialysis machine that drains the blood, cleanses it with a dialysate solution, and then returns it to your bloodstream. Hemodialysis is usually done several times a week with each session lasting a few hours.

In determining which dialysis method is best for you, keep your 1) proximity to a dialysis center, 2) lifestyle and activities, and 3) costs of care in mind.