Dialysis explained in more detail

Types of Dialysis

There are two types of dialysis:

  • Haemodialysis
  • Peritoneal dialysis


Haemodialysis is the type of dialysis that most people are aware of. It involves inserting a needle, which is attached by a tube to a dialysis machine, into a blood vessel. Blood is transferred from your body and into the machine, which filters out waste products and excess fluids. The filtered blood is then passed back into your body. Most patients have to travel to Hospital for this treatment but it can now be done at home, through the home Haemodialysis machines.  This is relatively new but again gives patients more freedom rather than travelling to hospital for treatment.

Peritoneal dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is a less well known method of dialysis, although it is becoming more common. Peritoneal dialysis involves using the peritoneum as a filter.

The peritoneum is a thin membrane that lines the inside of the abdomen, and surrounds and supports the abdominal organs, such as the stomach and the liver. Like the kidneys, the peritoneum contains thousands of tiny blood vessels, making it useful as a filtering device.

During peritoneal dialysis, a small flexible tube known as a catheter is attached to an incision in your abdomen, and a special fluid, known as dialysis fluid, is pumped into your peritoneal cavity. The peritoneal cavity is the space surrounding the peritoneum.

As blood moves through the peritoneum, waste products and excess fluid are moved out of the blood and into the dialysis fluid. The dialysis fluid is then drained out of the cavity.

Dialysis use in Ireland

In Ireland, an estimated 1600 people are receiving haemodialysis, and an estimated 200 people are receiving peritoneal dialysis, as well as approx. 20 patients receiving home haemodialysis in their own homes.  Haemodialysis is available in all 4 regions of the HSE. Because of the way peritoneal dialysis is performed, it does not require regular visits to a dialysis unit.

Living with dialysis can be challenging because the treatment is associated with side effects including fatigue and weight gain. However, there is plenty of help and support available, and many people achieve a good quality of life while living with dialysis.

If you would like to know more about Kidney Disease there are 4 books available, which can be downloaded from the IKA website as follows:


1. Kidney Disease - A Guide for Patients

2. Haemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis - A Guide for Patients

3. Kidney Transplant - A Guide for Patients

4. Thinking about Donating a Kidney?

The above information books are only a guide and reference tool and any issues or worries should be discussed with your Doctor or Nurse.  The books have been complied by the renal staff of Beaumont Hospital


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Latest comments

11.08 | 19:09

hi noreen. got transplant on june 17th from my sister. your latest blog regarding your tiredness has been consoling for me as i am having symptoms also.

13.06 | 00:53

Yes Noreen met your lovely dad. What a gentleman. Hope he gets his call also. Keep well and happy.

11.06 | 12:29

Hi.. just wonder what the fluid allowance is like on CAPD.. also congrats on the site.. great stuff.

10.06 | 20:49

Thanks Siobhan for your lovely comment. I'm feeling good & I hope you are keeping well also. If I have the right person, I think you met my Dad in CUH Noreen x

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