Dialysis is the procedure whereby the blood stream is cleansed of toxins that accumulate in the body due to kidney failure. The state of this toxin accumulation at the point of causing clinical symptoms is called uremia. Unfortunately, kidney failure produces very few symptoms during the onset of the disease, which means by the time symptoms occur, the disease has already reached an advanced stage.
The physicians of North Texas Kidney Consultants are able to provide medical management and care for dialysis patients in several modalities. The following is a list of the modalities, with a brief description.
The patient’s blood is run through a filtration membrane (dialyzer) over a period of 3-4 hours depending on the patient’s body weight. The process is driven by a pump in the dialysis machine that circulates the blood at low speed to run it against a clean fluid across the dialyzer membrane. The process allows for the removal of toxins from the patient’s blood. It is a process that is well tolerated by patients.
Hemodialysis is divided into different modalities based on the schedule and technique as discussed below. Hemodialysis requires the establishment of a shunt between an artery and a vein (usually upper extremity) to be able to access the blood stream and form a continuous circle with the dialysis machine during treatment.
Home hemodialysis allows patients to perform hemodialysis outside of a dialysis center using a machine that performs the same filtration process performed in a dialysis center.
Patients must meet certain requirements to be considered for home hemodialysis. A patient has to undergo 25 training sessions before being allowed to embark on home hemodialysis.
Peritoneal dialysis is different from hemodialysis because instead of using an artificial membrane for the filtration process, the process is performed by using the peritoneal membrane in the body. The peritoneal membrane is the thin membrane that encases the internal organs in the abdomen. The membrane surrounds the internal organs in a manner that allows the formation of a cavity or sac that is used in peritoneal dialysis as a reservoir for the removal of toxins.
The peritoneal membrane allows the movement of toxins through tiny holes from the blood circulation in the membrane into the cavity. The dialysis fluid is drained via the tunneled dialysis catheter outside of the body. The process is performed at home on a daily basis. Peritoneal dialysis requires patients to undergo training sessions in a dialysis center before attempting the process at home.
Patients receive their dialysis treatments during sleep three (3) days a week at a dialysis unit. The dialysis unit still provides caring, well-trained staff to monitor and care for the patients.
All of the above dialysis modalities are tailored for individual patients based on medical conditions, age, work status, and patients’ preferences. You can find additional information at the following websites:www.kidney.org and www.davita.com.