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Different types of kidney disease treatments are called modalities. They are hemodialysis or “HD” (in-center or at home), peritoneal dialysis or “PD” and kidney transplant. Which type you undergo is your choice, some may choose not to get treated.
Dr. TJ talks about the treatment options for people with advanced kidney disease: hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplant. Watch the video for further education.
What is dialysis?
Dialysis of any kind is typically started when the symptoms of kidney failure reach a point that medications, taken during advancing kidney insufficiency, no longer work and patients can no longer tolerate the symptoms of the disease in their normal daily functions.
The symptoms associated with kidney failure that signal “it's time for dialysis” typically are excessive fluid accumulation that cannot be relieved with diuretics, severe lack of appetite for food, nausea, itching, and severe sleepiness. That usually occurs when the kidney function declines to around 10 to 15 units of kidney function.
What are the dialysis options?
Hemodialysis. The one most commonly used currently in the United States. The word “hemo” in hemodialysis means “blood”. This modality of treatment is a process where blood is removed from the body and circulated on one side of a thin, porous membrane in an artificial kidney. A clean salt solution is circulated on the other side of the membrane within the artificial kidney. This allows the built-up of waste products in the blood to filter through the membrane from the blood into the salt solution to be carried away and dumped and then the cleaned blood is returned to the patient.
Peritoneal dialysis. Gets to the same place, but through an entirely different method. With “PD”, the thin, porous membrane that lines the outside of all the organs on the inside of the abdominal cavity (your gut), called the peritoneal membrane, is used to remove the toxic waste products that can no longer be filtered by the kidneys. For this modality, a patient must have a thin clear plastic tube inserted into your abdomen (near your belly button), by a surgeon, called a PD catheter. When a sterile, clean salt solution is placed into the abdominal cavity through the PD catheter, the waste products in the blood will travel through the peritoneal membrane and dissolve into the salt solution, which is then emptied out into a sterile bag and replaced every few hours with clean fluid from a new bag.
With either kind of dialysis you must continue dietary restrictions of one kind or other regardless which modality you choose.
Kidney transplant. If you can safely get it, it’s considered the best treatment option for kidney failure. A transplant can increase the chances for a longer and healthier life for people facing kidney failure. It is a surgical procedure during which a healthy kidney from a donor is placed into the recipient. A good transplant candidate needs to be healthy enough to have a major surgery and tolerate a strict, lifelong medication regimen after surgery to make sure the immune system doesn’t reject the new kidney.
About Lifeblood Foundation
Lifeblood Foundation’s mission is to accelerate advancements in chronic diseases care by bringing education and tools to patients, their families and their support networks. A primary focus is to align with forces dedicated to creating positive change. Together we aim to improve patient care and give those afflicted with chronic diseases the chance to live a much fuller life.