dialysis treatment options - What you need to know about kidney disease

Dialysis Treatment Options

When your kidneys fail, you will mostly likely be over flooded with information from doctors, social workers, nurses and people in general who want to help.

Try not to let it overwhelm you, take it in a little bit at a time, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t remember everything. Bookmark information, make notes, and write down questions.

The treatment options for kidney failure are hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplant.

Types of Dialysis Treatment

Hemodialysis

One of the most important steps in taking care of your health is to know your options. If you go on dialysis there are various types of dialysis you can do, depending on your lifestyle and overall health:

In hemodialysis, your blood flows 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 and sodium 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 clinic-a dialysis center a minimum of three times a week for 3 to 5 or more hours each visit.

Shorter daily sessions or longer sessions performed overnight while you sleep are more effective in removing wastes.

  • In Center-hemodialysis
  • Home hemodialysis
  • Nocturnal dialysis (done in center and at home)
  • In-Center self-care dialysis

Hemodialysis Access Choices

  • Fistula – A type of vascular access that is created by connecting one of the arteries to one of the veins in the lower arm. A fistula is the most effective type of dialysis access.
  • Graft – A type of vascular access that uses a piece of synthetic tubing sewn between an artery and a vein if a fistula is not available.
  • Hemodialysis Catheter – Though typically not used for permanent access, a hemodialysis catheter may be used temporarily if kidney disease has progressed quickly and other access has not been obtained. In this case, a catheter is placed in a vein in the neck (jugular vein), chest (subclavian vein), or leg (femoral vein). Dialysis catheters are also used for patients needing dialysis while their permanent access develops.

Peritoneal dialysis (CAPD, CCPD)

  • CCPD – Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis, is a an automated method of Dialysis which runs while you are sleeping. 8-12 liters of fluid will be exchanged during the course of a 8-10 hours sleep. You will also need to be monitored frequently by nurses and clinics due to the strict rules and guidelines which need to be met.
  • CAPD – Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis, which cleans your body during the day. You will need to exchange the fluids every few hours, which can take 40 minutes per session (usually 4 times a day).

Peritoneal Access Choice

  • A special tube is placed during a short surgical procedure into the abdomen. Placement of the catheter is usually done 10-14 days before dialysis starts.

Kidney Transplant

Kidney transplants are another form of treatment for kidney failure, it’s not a cure. After receiving a transplant you will still need to take care of yourself and take medications for life. You receive a kidney either from a deceased donor from the list, or from a person who is willing to donate to you. Ask your doctor if you are a candidate for a kidney transplant. (More kidney transplantation information)

No Treatment is an Option

You have the right to decide not to start dialysis if you feel that the burden would outweigh the benefits and reduce your quality of life. You need to discuss the issue thoroughly with your healthcare team, friends and family.

Listen to these KidneyTalk Podcasts about Dialysis Treatment Options
Read these Health Library articles on Dialysis Treatment Options