Kidney Disease Treatments

Learn about ALL of the treatments for kidney failure in our 2-minute animated videos.

What is Peritoneal Dialysis

A home treatment. The inner lining of the belly is used as a filter to clean the blood. A surgeon will place a PD catheter (tube) into the belly or chest. A nurse trains someone to use the tube to fill the belly with sterile fluid. Wastes and water flow into the fluid. Then, the used fluid is drained out and fresh fluid goes in. This is a PD exchange. Exchanges can be done by hand a few times a day. Or, a cycler machine can do exchanges at night during sleep.

What is Standard In-Center Hemodialysis

Standard HD is done in a clinic three times a week (MWF or TRS). Each treatment lasts about 3.5 - 5 hours, and is done by a technician or nurse. Since the blood is not cleaned four days a week, strict limits on diet and fluids and many medicines are needed. This is the least amount of blood cleaning you can get, and has the highest rate of problems.

What is Daily Home Hemodialysis

4 - 7 HD treatments a week, each 2.5 - 4 hours long, at home. A nurse will train you and give you 24/7 phone support. You go home once you and your nurse feel confident that you will succeed. You choose the days and times. Daily HD removes more water. This makes you feel better and can help your heart.

What is Nocturnal Hemodialysis

Slow, gentle 7 - 8 hour HD treatments done during sleep. At home, a nurse trains people, and they do 3.5-7 nights per week. In a clinic, 3 nights per week. The treatments do not take time out of the day. Alarms go off if there is blood loss.

What is a Kidney Transplant

A surgery to get a healthy kidney from a donor. The donor may be living or deceased. Drugs are needed each day. These suppress the immune system, so it will not harm the new kidney. The drugs can cause side effects, like diabetes and cancer. A transplant is not a cure. Most work for years. While they do, quality of life may be quite good. A kidney-pancreas transplant may be an option for some who have diabetes. If this works, no insulin or dialysis are needed.

What is Comfort Care

Active medical care with no dialysis or transplant. You see your doctor and have a care team. The goal is to give you as many good days as possible. This option will not help you live longer. It can help you live better.

Next Section:
How to Have a Good Life