What is Dialysis

Dialysis is a treatment that does some of the things done by healthy kidneys. It is needed when your own kidneys can no longer take care of your body's needs.
You need dialysis when you develop end stage kidney failure --usually by the time you lose about 85 to 90 percent of your kidney function and have a GFR of 15.
When your kidneys fail, dialysis keeps your body in balance by:

  • removing waste, salt, and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body
  • keeping a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate
  • helping to control blood pressure

Types of Dialysis

There are two types of dialysis. These include hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

What is hemodialysis?

In hemodialysis, an artificial kidney (hemodialyzer) is used to remove waste and extra chemicals and fluid from your blood. To get your blood into the artificial kidney, an access (entrance) into your blood vessels needs to be made. This is done by minor surgery. Dialysis access types include a fistula, graft, or catheter. A catheter may be placed temporarily, but is sometime used for long-term treatment also. Hemodialysis treatments last approximately 4 hours and are usually performed 3 times per week.

What is peritoneal dialysis?

In peritoneal dialysis, your blood is cleaned inside your body. A plastic tube called a catheter is placed into your abdomen (belly) to make an access. During the treatment, your abdominal area (called the peritoneal cavity) is slowly filled with dialysate through the catheter. The blood stays in the arteries and veins that line your peritoneal cavity and extra fluid and waste products are drawn out of your blood and into the dialysate. This type of dialysis can be performed either during the day with manual exchanges, or throughout the night while you sleep using a machine called a cycler. The advantage of peritoneal dialysis is that is allows the patient to perform therapy at home, instead of traveling to a hemodialysis unit several times per week. For some patients, doing home dialysis can be the best option to maintain a flexible and independent lifestyle.

Helping our patients choose the type of dialysis that is best for them is an important responsibility of our practice. Our doctors will work with you to provide ongoing education and help in selecting a dialysis unit local to you. We currently provide care at the following outpatient dialysis centers:

Fresenius Kidney Care – Berlin, Bridgeton, Burlington, Cherry Hill, Deptford, Hammonton, Marlton, Runnemede, Sewell, Swedesboro, Vineland, Voorhees, Winslow, Woodbury

DaVita Dialysis Center – Bridgeton, Millville, Sewell

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