Interesting Facts About Kidney Dialysis

1. Hemodialysis and peritoneal kidney dialysis have been done since the mid 1940’s.

2. The federal government pays 80 percent of all kidney dialysis costs for most patients.

3. Since the 1960s, surveillance studies have consistently shown that American kidney dialysis patients do not live as long as those in other countries…the U.S. mortality rate for dialysis patients is about 23 percent, twice the rate of patients in Western Europe or Japan.

4. According to The National Center for Health Statistics kideny dialysis survival rates are as follows:

1 Year – 77%

5 Years – 28%

10 Years – 10%

5. About 90 percent of dialysis patients receive hemodialysis, in which the blood is circulated outside the body and cleaned inside a machine before returning to the patient.

6. Kidneys process 18 gallons of blood each hour with a sophisticated method of excretion, absorption and re-absorption. By the end of each day, they can produce as much as 7 gallons of urine.

What is Kidney Dialysis?

Kidney Dialysis is a treatment that does some of the things done by healthy kidneys. It is needed when your own kidneys can no longer take care of your body’s needs.

When is kidney dialysis needed?

You need kidney dialysis when you develop end stage kidney failure, usually by the time you lose about 85 to 90 percent of your kidney function.

What does kidney dialysis do?

Like healthy kidneys, kidney dialysis keeps your body in balance. Kidney Dialysis does the following:

-removes waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body

-keeps a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate

-helps to control blood pressure

Is kidney failure permanent?

Not always. Some kinds of acute kidney failure get better after treatment. In some cases of acute kidney failure, kidney dialysis may only be needed for a short time until the kidneys get better.

In chronic or end stage kidney failure, your kidneys do not get better and you will need kidney dialysis for the rest of your life. If your doctor says you are a candidate, you may choose to be placed on a waiting list for a new kidney.

Where is kidney dialysis done?

Kidney Dialysis can be done in a hospital, in a kidney dialysis unit that is not part of a hospital, or at home. You and your doctor will decide which place is best, based on your medical condition and your wishes.

Are there different types of kidney dialysis?

Yes, there are two types of kidney dialysis –hemodialysis and peritoneal kidney dialysis.

What is hemodialysis?

In hemodialysis, an artificial kidney (hemodialyzer) is used to remove waste and extra chemicals and fluid from your blood. To get your blood into the artificial kidney, the doctor needs to make an access (entrance) into your blood vessels. This is done by minor surgery to your arm or leg.

Sometimes, an access is made by joining an artery to a vein under your skin to make a bigger blood vessel called a fistula.

However, if your blood vessels are not adequate for a fistula, the doctor may use a soft plastic tube to join an artery and a vein under your skin. This is called a graft.

Occasionally, an access is made by means of a narrow plastic tube, called a catheter, which is inserted into a large vein in your neck. This type of access may be temporary, but is sometimes used for long-term treatment.

How long do hemodialysis treatments last?

The time needed for your kidney dialysis depends on:

-how well your kidneys work

-how much fluid weight you gain between treatments

-how much waste you have in your body

-how big you are

-the type of artificial kidney used

Usually, each hemodialysis treatment lasts about four hours and is done three times per week.

A type of hemodialysis called high-flux dialysis may take less time. You can speak to your doctor to see if this is an appropriate treatment for you.

What is peritoneal kidney dialysis and how does it work?

In this type of kidney dialysis, your blood is cleaned inside your body. The doctor will do surgery to place a plastic tube called a catheter into your abdomen (belly) to make an access. During the treatment, your abdominal area (called the peritoneal cavity) is slowly filled with dialysate through the catheter. The blood stays in the arteries and veins that line your peritoneal cavity. Extra fluid and waste products are drawn out of your blood and into the dialysate. There are two major kinds of peritoneal kidney dialysis.

What are the different kinds of peritoneal kidney dialysis and how do they work?

There are several kinds of peritoneal kidney dialysis but two major ones are: Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) and Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD).

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) is the only type of peritoneal dialysis that is done without machines. You do this yourself, usually four or five times a day at home and/or at work. You put a bag of dialysate (about two quarts) into your peritoneal cavity through the catheter. The dialysate stays there for about four or five hours before it is drained back into the bag and thrown away. This is called an exchange. You use a new bag of dialysate each time you do an exchange. While the dialysate is in your peritoneal cavity, you can go about your usual activities at work, at school or at home.

Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD) usually is done at home using a special machine called a cycler. This is similar to CAPD except that a number of cycles (exchanges) occur. Each cycle usually lasts 1-1/2 hours and exchanges are done throughout the night while you sleep.

Will kidney dialysis help cure the kidney disease?

No. Kidney dialysis does some of the work of healthy kidneys, but it does not cure your kidney disease. You will need to have dialysis treatments for your whole life unless you are able to get a kidney transplant.

Is kidney dialysis uncomfortable?

You may have some discomfort when the needles are put into your fistula or graft, but most patients have no other problems. The kidney dialysis treatment itself is painless. However, some patients may have a drop in their blood pressure. If this happens, you may feel sick to your stomach, vomit, have a headache or cramps. With frequent treatments, those problems usually go away.

How long has kidney dialysis been available?

Hemodialysis and peritoneal kidney dialysis have been done since the mid 1940’s. Kidney Dialysis, as a regular treatment, was begun in 1960 and is now a standard treatment all around the world. CAPD began in 1976. Thousands of patients have been helped by these treatments.

How long can you live on kidney dialysis?

We do not yet know how long patients on kidney dialysis will live. We think that some dialysis patients may live as long as people without kidney failure.

Is kidney dialysis expensive?

Yes. Kidney Dialysis costs a lot of money. However, the federal government pays 80 percent of all kidney dialysis costs for most patients. Private health insurance or state medical aid also help with the costs.

Do kidney dialysis patients feel normal?

Many patients live normal lives except for the time needed for treatments. Kidney Dialysis usually makes you feel better because it helps many of the problems caused by kidney failure. You and your family will need time to get used to kidney dialysis.

Do kidney dialysis patients have to control their diets?

Yes. You may be on a special diet. You may not be able to eat everything you like, and you may need to limit how much you drink. Your diet may vary according to the type of kidney dialysis.

Can kidney dialysis Patients travel?

Yes. Kidney Dialysis centers are located in every part of the United States and in many foreign countries. The treatment is standardized. You must make an appointment for dialysis treatments at another center before you go. The staff at your center may help you make the appointment.

Can kidney dialysis patients continue to work?

Many kidney dialysis patients can go back to work after they have gotten used to kidney dialysis. If your job has a lot of physical labor (heavy lifting, digging, etc.), you may need to get a different job.


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