Normal functioning kidneys filter the blood, removing harmful waste products and excess fluid and turning these into urine to be passed out of the body.If your kidneys are not working properly, the kidneys may not be able to clean the blood properly.Waste products and fluid can build up to dangerous levels in your body. Left untreated, this can cause unpleasant symptoms and eventually be fatal.

There are several types of dialysis treatments that removes wastes and extra fluid from your blood when your kidneys stop working properly:

Hemodialysis (HD)

During hemodialysis, your blood is pumped through soft tubes to a dialysis machine where it goes through a special filter called a dialyzer (also called an artificial kidney). Smaller waste products, such as urea and creatinine, and extra fluid, move from your blood through the membrane, and are removed. As your blood is filtered, it is returned to your blood stream. Only a small amount of blood is out of your body at any time.To get your blood into the dialyzer, you will need an access into the bloodstream for placing needles needed for hemodialysis into your blood vessels. This is done with minor surgery, usually to your arm.

Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)

During peritoneal dialysis, a cleansing fluid flows through a tube into part of the stomach area, also called the abdomen. The inner lining of the abdomen, known as the peritoneum, acts as a filter and removes wastes from blood. After a set amount of time, the fluid with the filtered waste flows out of the abdomen and is thrown away.

Because peritoneal dialysis works inside the body, it’s different from a more-common procedure to clean the blood called hemodialysis. That procedure filters blood outside the body in a machine.

Peritoneal dialysis treatments can be done at home, at work or while you travel. But it’s not a treatment option for everyone with kidney failure. You need to be able to use your hands in a skillful way and care for yourself at home. Or you need a trusted caregiver to help you with this process.

There are two kinds of peritoneal dialysis:

  • Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD): With CAPD, you do the exchanges yourself four times a day, seven days a week. This type of dialysis is performed in the home, there are no machines. You put a bag of dialysate (about two quarts) into the peritoneal cavity through the catheter. The dialysate stays there for about four or six hours before it is drained back into the bag and thrown awayand fresh solution is instilled back into the peritoneal cavity.


  • Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD): ADP is usually done at home using a special machine called a cycler at night while you sleep and once during the day. The machine will do the fluid exchanges while you sleep and allows your daytime to have minimal exchanges.