Hemodialysis is a sophisticated therapy that requires a coordinated effort from a team of health care professionals which include nephrologists, dialysis nurse, dialysis technician, dietician, and social worker. The most important members of your health care team are you and your family. By learning about your treatment, you can work with your health care team to give yourself the best possible results, and you can lead a full, active life. In hemodialysis, your blood is allowed to flow, a few ounces at a time, through a special filter that removes wastes and extra fluids. The clean blood is then returned to your body. Removing the harmful wastes and extra salt and fluids helps control your blood pressure and keep the proper balance of chemicals like potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus etc in your body. One of the biggest adjustments you must make when you start hemodialysis treatments is following a strict schedule. Most patients go to a dialysis center-three times a week for 3 to 5 or more hours each visit. For example, you may be on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule or a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule. You may be asked to choose a morning, afternoon, or evening shift, depending on availability and capacity at the dialysis unit. Our dialysis center will explain your options for scheduling regular treatments.
Peritoneal dialysis offers more flexibility by allowing patients to dialyze wherever they may be; at home, at work or on vacation.
PD uses the thin membrane, called the peritoneum, which lines the abdomen to perform dialysis treatments. During treatments, a cleansing fluid called dialysate is put into the patient's abdomen through a small, flexible tube called a PD catheter.
The dialysate pulls the waste and extra fluid from the patient's blood into the peritoneal cavity. The dialysate remains in the abdomen for a specified amount of time before it is drained and replaced with fresh dialysate. The time during which the dialysate remains in the patient's abdomen is known as the dwell time. When the dialysate is drained, the wastes and extra fluids are also drained, and fresh dialysate is replaced to clean the blood. This filling and draining process is called an exchange because the dialysate that has been in the abdomen is being exchanged for new, fresh dialysate. Exchanges can be done manually or with a machine called a cycler.There are three basic requirements patients must meet in order to qualify for PD. Patients must have the motivation to adhere to a treatment schedule, basic manual dexterity and a functional peritoneal membrane.