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    What is dialysis?
    Dialysis is a procedure that substitutes for many of the normal functions of the kidneys when their filtering function declines to a critical level or there are other complications. Dialysis allows persons with chronic kidney disease to lead a normal and productive life.

    The leading causes for kidney failure needing dialysis are diabetes and hypertension. Other causes include glomerulonephritis and polycystic kidney disease

    Types of Dialysis
    Dialysis improves quality of and extends the life of many patients; in some patients it substitutes for the kidney function and buys time till a suitable donor can be found for consideration of transplant. The two main types of dialysis are

    • Hemodialysis – Uses a machine into which patient’s blood is pumped and cleaned before being returned to the body
    • Peritoneal dialysis – Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your abdomen (peritoneum) to filter your blood within the body (instead of using an external machine)

    Hemodialysis Vs Peritoneal Dialysis
    • Each method has merits and demerits
    • Patients may choose the longterm dialysis type that suits their needs and convenience
    • Hemodialysis is the more commonly employed method
    • Peritoneal dialysis can be done at home but needs a reliable care provider and manual dexterity

    About Hemodialysis
    • During hemodialysis, patient’s blood passes into the dialysis machine via sterile tubing and into a filter (dialyser), called a dialysis membrane. The dialyser is otherwise termed “artificial” kidney
    • The dialyser, or filter consists of two parts, one for blood and another for the washing fluid called dialysate. A thin membrane separates these two parts. Blood cells, protein and other important things remain in the blood because they are too big to pass through the membrane. Smaller waste products in the blood, such as urea, creatinine, potassium and excess fluid pass through the membrane and are washed away
    • Prior to the procedure, the patient has a specialized vascular tube placed between an artery and a vein in the arm or leg (called a gortex graft).
    • Sometimes, a direct connection can instead be made between an artery and a vein in the arm. This procedure is called a fistula formation.
    • Needles are then placed in the graft or fistula, and blood passes to the dialysis machine, through the filter, and back to the patient.
    • If the patient needs dialysis before a graft or a fistula is placed, a large diameter catheter (hemodialysis catheter) is placed directly into a large neck or leg vein to perform dialysis.
    • Hemodialysis in a dialysis center is usually done 3 times per week for about 4 hours at a time. It can also be done at home

    About Peritoneal Dialysis
    • Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining membrane of the patient’s abdominal cavity to act as the filter.
    • In peritoneal dialysis, a cleansing fluid flows through a tube (catheter) into the abdominal cavity and removes waste products the blood.
    • An operation is necessary to insert the catheter that carries the cleansing fluid into and out of the abdomen
    • Following the operation, dialysis will be started after an interval of at least two weeks to allow the surgical site to heal
    • Once dialysis begins, the peritoneal membrane acts like a filter between the cleansing fluid and the blood stream
    • After a prescribed period of time (four to six hours), the fluid with filtered waste products flows out of your abdomen and is discarded into a sterile collection bag

    Peritoneal Dialysis Is Preferred In The Following Situations
    • Patient desires minimal disruption of routine activities; can be done at home or while travelling
    • Presence of residual kidney function
    • Inability to tolerate rapid fluctuations in fluid balance due to hemodialysis

    Contraindications To Peritoneal Dialysis
    • Extensive surgical scars over abdomen
    • History of weakened abdominal muscle (hernia)
    • Limited ability for self-care or lack of dedicated caregiver
    • History of inflammatory bowel disease or diverticulitis
    • Protein malnutrition
    • Presence of underlying critical illness

    Types of Peritoneal Dialysis
    The process of filling and then draining the abdomen is called an exchange. The two main types of peritoneal dialysis are

    • Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)
    • Continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD)

    Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)
    The abdominal cavity is filled with dialysate fluid, stays there for a prescribed dwell time, and then drained out . Gravity pushes the fluid through the catheter and into and out of the abdomen.
    With CAPD

    • Three to five exchanges may be needed during the day and one with a longer dwell time while at night
    • The exchanges can be performed at home, work or any clean place
    • Normal activities can be carried out while the dialysate dwells in the abdomen

    Continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD)
    Also known as automated peritoneal dialysis (APD), a machine (automated cycler) performs multiple exchanges at night time during sleep. The cycler automatically fills the abdomen with dialysate fluid, allows it to remain there and then drains it to a sterile bag which is emptied in the morning
    With CCPD

    • The patient should be attached to the machine for 10 to 12 hours at night
    • The patient is not connected to the machine during the day. But in the morning you begin one exchange with a dwell time that lasts throughout the day
    • CCPD is associated with a lower risk of peritonitis because connecting and disconnecting to the dialysis machine is done less frequently than with CAPD.

    The type of peritoneal dialysis will be decided based on patient’s medical condition, lifestyle and
    personal preferences.

    Complications of Peritoneal Dialysis
    • Peritonitis (peritoneal infection)
    • Hernia – abdominal muscle strain due to holding large amounts of fluid
    • Inadequate dialysis – following several years of dialysis. May need switching to hemodialysis
    • Weight gain – due to the dextrose sugar in the dialysate fluid adding to the calories

    Most people who begin with peritoneal dialysis will eventually suffer from decline in kidney function and will need hemodialysis or kidney transplant

    General Precautions While On Dialysis
    • Increasing protein in diet and limiting potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and fluid intake
    • Patients with diabetes or other health conditions will need additional diet restrictions
    • Avoiding certain drugs that can harm the kidneys eg painkillers
    • The dialysis care team will monitor treatment with monthly lab tests to ensure that dialysis is adequate and dietary goals are being maintained

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