There are two types of dialysis:
- 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 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