Treatment for Kidney Failure
If chronic kidney disease gets to the point where your kidneys aren’t working well enough to keep you healthy, dialysis may be an option. Dialysis does some of the work healthy kidneys do by filtering the blood and removing waste. It can be a long-term treatment or a substitute until you get a kidney transplant.
At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, we offer several types of dialysis, including some you can do at home. Our team-based approach to care combines the skill of physicians, nurses, social workers and nutritionists. We help you decide which type of dialysis works for you then make sure you have the education and support you need to make the treatment as easy as possible.
Types of Dialysis
Dialysis treatment may include:
Hemodialysis uses a machine to remove waste products and excess fluid from your blood. Traditionally, the treatment takes place several times a week in a dialysis center. But new technology allows us to offer the treatment at home, with a portable machine that’s easy to use and provides increased freedom and quality of life, even allowing you to travel without having to find a dialysis center.
Peritoneal dialysis is a home-based treatment. It uses your abdominal area—the peritoneal cavity specifically—as a natural filter for your blood. You fill the area with a special fluid called dialysate. Then, you remove the fluid when the process is complete hours later. Different options allow you to do this on your own several times a day or with a machine that delivers and drains the dialysate automatically at night while you sleep.
Dialysis may be performed in the hospital. For your convenience, our doctors see patients at several dialysis centers throughout the area:
Preparing for Dialysis
Before starting dialysis, you’ll need a surgical procedure to make the treatment possible. We work with other specialists to plan and schedule all aspects of the surgery.
For optimal results, hemodialysis patients need to have an AV fistula (AVF) created.
Hemodialysis – AVF
A vascular surgeon needs to create a fistula, joining a vein and an artery, so that a large vein is available to place two needles into. One needle is used to continuously remove a small amount of blood to flow through the dialysis machine and the second needle is used to return the “clean” blood back into the body.
A surgeon places a small, plastic tube called a catheter into your peritoneal cavity in your abdomen.
If You’re Waiting for a Transplant
If you’re receiving dialysis until a kidney transplant, we’ll work closely with your transplant team to plan your treatment and ensure you get seamless care.