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Home Dialysis to Fit Your Life

4 Views· 01/05/24
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#dialysis #uvahealth
If your kidney function is declining and medications and other treatments aren’t working, dialysis can offer life-saving care. UVA has one of the largest dialysis programs in the country. Nephrologist Daphne Knicely, MD, explains the types of home dialysis and how they can work to fit your life.

Find out more at: https://uvahealth.com/services/dialysis


Dialysis is just a way to replace the kidneys when they're not working anymore. So when the kidneys stop working, they stop getting rid of water, stop balancing the chemistry, stop getting rid of the toxins. Then dialysis does its job by balancing the chemistries, getting rid of the toxins, and help remove fluid. It doesn't fix the kidneys. It just replaces them.

I usually think of dialysis as two components. There's hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. So peritoneal dialysis can only be done at home. Hemodialysis can be done in a center, or it can be done at home.

Hemodialysis is where you have some sort of access to the blood. Either some sort of shunt in the arm that connects an artery and vein, or a catheter. And it allows for blood to leave you, go through a machine, get cleaned, chemistries balanced, and then comes back to you.

For home hemodialysis, the patient actually learns how to do that treatment. It's a very simple machine, very user-friendly. Training is usually about anywhere from four weeks up to eight weeks, and you work one-on-one with a nurse. You still see the physician. You come in about once a month, maybe twice a month, to get labs. You'll see a social worker, and a nutritionist at the same time.

Peritoneal dialysis takes place by putting a tube into your abdomen. And we take dialysis fluid that's chemically balanced. When we put it into the abdomen, it uses those little blood vessels to pull toxins out, to balance chemistries, kind of like little filters. Now, after it sits in there for several hours, we drain it out.

Anyone that needs dialysis is a candidate for home dialysis. There's not one type of dialysis that's going to make you live longer. They're all equal. The goal is to pick the type of dialysis that fits with your life.

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