Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health.  Explore Lahey locations below or reach Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Beverly Hospital and Winchester Hospital.

Flexible and Convenient Treatment for Kidney Disease

There are two main types of dialysis:

Both types of dialysis help your body eliminate harmful waste and excess fluid that accumulate with kidney failure. This process helps control your blood pressure and balances important electrolytes in your blood, like potassium and sodium.

Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis is sometimes called an artificial kidney. During treatment, your blood flows through a filter called a dialyzer, which then removes unwanted substances from your body.

The first step in hemodialysis is minor surgery to create a vascular access. This provides a way to connect you to the dialyzer.

The dialyzer contains multiple thin, hollow fibers. As your blood goes into the dialyzer, dialysis solution running outside the blood that contains hollow fibers helps clear the blood of the waste products it contains. The cleaned blood then returns to your body.

Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your abdomen (peritoneum) to filter your blood while it’s inside your body. It allows you to give yourself dialysis in a nonclinical setting, such as your home.

Before treatment begins, you’ll have a soft tube (catheter) surgically placed in your abdomen.

During treatment, dialysis solution goes from a bag through the catheter and into your abdomen. When the bag is empty, you place a cap on the catheter and continue with your daily schedule. The dialysis solution absorbs the waste and any excess fluid in your body and you later drain it into an external bag. You throw away that drain bag and start the process again with a fresh bag of dialysis solution. This process is called an exchange. You will complete an exchange four to six times a day, depending on your dialysis needs. This process is commonly done at night using a cycler (automated PD) which does these exchanges while you sleep.

Peritoneal dialysis offers several advantages, including:

  • Ability to travel
  • Fewer doctor’s visits
  • Increased autonomy
  • Less impact on daily activities
  • More flexibility in your schedule
  • Reduced cost

We use Baxter Pharmaceutical supplies for dialysis administered while you’re in the hospital. However, we also have adaptors available upon request if you use the Fresenius system.