When a patient's kidneys no longer work, the patient must have dialysis. Though dialysis replaces only 10% of kidney function, it does allow many patients to live a long and active life.
Hemodialysis requires the placement of a vascular access (catheter, fistula or graft) for the patient. A dialysis machine is then connected to the access. The machine pulls the blood on one side, and returns the clean blood to the other side.
In peritoneal dialysis, the tip of a catheter is placed in the cavity formed by the double membrane (peritoneum) that surrounds the content of the abdomen. Cleaning fluid is poured into the cavity; it is left there to dwell for minutes to hours depending on the patient.
There are different modalities in terms of the application of dialysis treatment: acute dialysis, chronic dialysis, home dialysis, in-center dialysis, slow dialysis, etc. They respond to the patient's need, desire and lifestyle.