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Answered by: Dr Sri Viknarajan
Hello doctor, my father had kidney disease and now doctor wants him to undergo dialysis. Can you give explaination about this procedure? I am worried about him. Thank you.
Hi, thank you for your question. Dialysis is a treatment that helps the body to perform some functions of the kidneys, such as keeping electrolytes in the blood (sodium, bicarbonate, potassium) at a safe level, removing waste products, extra water and salt and controlling blood pressure. Patients need dialysis when they start developing end stage kidney disease (85-90% of kidney function lost) and many will need dialysis for the rest of their life.
There are 2 types of dialysis, namely haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Haemodialysis uses a machine that acts like an artificial kidney to take blood from patient’s body and pump it through a filter, then return the purified blood into the body.
A minor surgery is needed to create a fistula (joining of artery to vein) in the arm or leg to gain access into blood vessels. If this is not possible, a graft (soft plastic tube to join artery to vein) may be needed. A temporary access may be made using a catheter (plastic tube). Each haemodialysis session usually lasts around 4 hours and is done 3 times a week.
In peritoneal dialysis, fluid is exchanged by infusing a cleansing fluid into patient’s abdomen and then draining the used fluid away through a catheter inserted in the abdomen. Patients may feel some discomfort when needles are inserted. Some may have a drop in blood pressure but patients in general tolerate dialysis well.
There are 2 forms of peritoneal dialysis. One of it is continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)where patients usually carry out 4 exchanges daily. The second type is automated peritoneal dialysis (APD), which uses a machine to exchange fluid during sleep.
Most patients lead a relatively normal live. They just have to limit the amount of water they drink everyday, eat healthily and avoid strenous activities.
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