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What types of dialysis are there?
There are two main types of dialysis: “hemodialysis” and “peritoneal dialysis.” Hemodialysis uses a special type of filter to remove excess waste products and water from the blood. Peritoneal dialysis uses a fluid that is placed into the patient’s abdominal cavity through a special plastic tube to remove excess waste products and fluid from the body.
During hemodialysis, blood passes from the patient’s body through a filter in the dialysis, called a “dialysis membrane.” For this procedure, the patient has a specialized plastic tube placed between an artery and a vein in the arm or leg (called a “gortex graft”). Sometimes, a direct connection is made between an artery and a vein in the arm. This procedure is called a “Cimino fistula.”
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 requires dialysis before a graft or a fistula is placed, a large diameter catheter is placed directly into a large vein in the neck or leg in order to perform dialysis. In the dialysis machine, a solution on the other side of the filter receives the waste products from the patient.
Peritoneal dialysis uses the patient’s own body tissues inside of the belly (abdominal cavity) to act as the filter. The abdominal cavity is lined with a special membrane, the peritoneal membrane. A plastic tube called a “peritoneal dialysis catheter” is placed through the abdominal wall into the abdominal cavity. A special fluid is then flushed into the abdominal cavity and washes around the intestines. The peritoneal membrane acts as a filter between this fluid and the blood stream. By using different types of solutions, waste products and excess water can be removed from the body through this process.