Dialysis Information Room

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About Dialysis
■ What is Dialysis?

When renal function is impaired by an underlying condition, the kidneys are no longer able to remove waste products andextra water from the blood and expel them from the body.
Kidney failure is a debilitating condition which can be life-threatening if left untreated. Dialysis is the procedure used to remove such waste products from the body. It is used to perform the lost function of the kidneys and purify the blood.

Two Main Types of Dialysis
■ Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis cleans the blood by circulating it outside the body through a dialyzer (artificial kidney) to remove wastes and excess salt and water. Inside the dialyzer, there are thousands of fine fiber tubes made from dialysis membrane. The blood flows through these tubes, and dialysis fluid flows around the outside of the tubes.
The dialysis membrane contains pores that allow the blood and the ingredients of the dialysis fluid to pass through it.
Due to the principle of diffusion whereby substances move from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration so that the ingredients dissolved in the water on both sides of the membrane reach equilibrium, the waste products and excess electrolytes in the blood are filtered out into the dialysis fluid.
After removal of these waste products, the cleaned blood is then returned to the body. Hemodialysis treatment using a hemodialysis machine incorporating a dialyzer has to be administered under the supervision of a physician, nurse or clinical engineering technologist and is, therefore, usually carried out at a dialysis clinic.

■ Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis removes waste from the body by using the peritoneum as a natural membrane instead of a dialysis membrane. Dialysis fluid is injected into the peritonial cavity, and wastes and electrolytes (minerals) are exchanged between the blood flowing through the blood vessels of the peritoneal membrane and the dialysis fluid.
Surgery to create access for draining the dialysis fluid in and out of the peritoneal cavity is required, but patients are able to drain the dialysis fluid in and out themselves, removing the need to visit a dialysis center. Patients are, however, required to visit hospital for periodic observation.