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Written by 12:15 pm Health & Wellness

Hemodialysis vs Peritoneal Dialysis: Choosing the Right Treatment

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 14% of Americans, many of whom rely on dialysis to manage their condition. Dialysis is a life-saving procedure that helps filter waste products from the blood when the kidneys are no longer functioning effectively. In this article, we will explore the key differences between two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, to help you make an informed decision in consultation with your doctor.

Understanding Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis is a common form of dialysis that employs an artificial kidney machine, known as a dialyzer, to cleanse the blood. Here’s how it works:

  • A special filter cleans the blood in the dialyzer, also known as an artificial kidney machine.
  • Blood is extracted from a dialysis access point, usually in the arm, and this picc line location is crucial for the procedure.
  • The machine filters the blood through a specialized membrane, removing waste products.
  • Waste products are washed away using a fluid called dialysate, while patients can wear hemo clothing during the process.
  • The cleansed blood is then returned to the patient’s body.

Hemodialysis sessions typically occur three times a week, each lasting around four hours. Although this frequency may be inconvenient, it is essential for many patients with compromised kidney function. Some patients also opt for home hemodialysis, offering greater flexibility in treatment scheduling.

Exploring Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis eliminates waste products without relying on an artificial kidney machine. Instead, it utilizes the peritoneum, the lining of the abdomen, as a natural filter for blood. Here’s how peritoneal dialysis works:

  • A special fluid called dialysate is introduced through a catheter into the abdomen, and peritoneal dialysis clothing can be worn for comfort.
  • The peritoneum acts as a natural filter, removing waste products from the blood.
  • After a predetermined “dwelling” time, the fluid containing filtered waste products flows out through the catheter for safe disposal.

Peritoneal dialysis offers a more flexible treatment option for patients who meet certain health criteria and prefer fewer restrictions than hemodialysis. There are two types of peritoneal dialysis to consider:

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)

  • The abdomen is filled with dialysate, and patients allow it to dwell before draining the fluid, facilitated by gravity.
  • Patients typically require three to five daily exchanges, with one exchange having a longer dwell time during sleep.
  • Exchanges can be performed in clean and sanitized environments, allowing patients to continue their daily activities while wearing peritoneal dialysis clothing for comfort.

Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD)

  • This method employs a machine that conducts multiple exchanges at night while the patient sleeps.
  • The machine fills the abdomen with dialysate, allows it to dwell, and then drains it into a sterile bag, and patients can wear peritoneal dialysis clothing for added convenience.
  • Automated peritoneal dialysis requires the patient to remain connected to the machine for approximately 10-12 hours overnight but does not require daytime machine use.

Choosing Between Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis

The choice between hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis depends on various factors, including your kidney function, overall health, home situation, lifestyle, personal preferences, and your ability to manage the specific requirements of each type of dialysis. Both treatment options have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is crucial to consult with your healthcare team to determine which is best for you.

Explore comfortable clothing options for treatment here.

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