Dialysis is a treatment for cleansing your body of waste products, balancing electrolytes, and removing extra fluid in your body that would typically be taken care of by healthy kidneys. Usually, when the function of the kidneys is reduced to 85-90% of its normal function you will need dialysis.
How do I get
There are two methods of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis:
- Hemodialysis uses your blood to exchange waste products and fluid by either using your own veins and arteries or sometimes using a prosthetic material called a graft. Occasionally, a patient may need to have a temporary catheter placed for dialysis until a more permanent solution is made.
- Peritoneal dialysis is performed through a surgically placed catheter into the abdomen which is used to place dialysis fluid into the abdomen and then removed after several hours. When the fluid is removed the waste products also are removed with it. Different options work for different patients. Be sure to discuss with your surgeon or nephrologist what option may be best for you
For a lot of patients who require dialysis, this is a permanent treatment. Sometimes patients who have acute illnesses may need dialysis only for a short period of time until the kidneys recover. It is always encouraged for you to talk with your nephrologist about the possibilities of being placed on a transplant list to receive a new kidney.
How do I care for
my dialysis access?
If you have a fistula or a graft, you should keep an eye out for any bruising, bleeding, swelling or redness around the access. These things may indicate an underlying problem and you should contact your surgeon as soon as possible.
For catheters, you will want to keep them dry and clean. The skin around the catheter should be free from any redness or drainage as this may indicate an infection. If your catheter stops working, contact your surgeon immediately.
Dialysis and kidney failure can be challenging and takes a lot of patience, continuous care, and regular correspondence with your treating doctors and surgeons. If you have any concerns or questions about your care feel free to call us to schedule an office consultation