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Chronic Kidney Disease

Healthy kidneys function to filter the blood and remove waste and excess fluid from the body. When the kidneys are no longer able to perform this daily function patients will require dialysis. Chronic kidney disease may occur as a result of diseases that affect the entire body such as diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure), or it may be the result of a disease that affects only the kidneys. Typically, end-stage renal disease (chronic kidney disease stage 5) occurs after years of chronic kidney disease, in which the kidneys slowly stop functioning over time.

The experienced nephrologists at the Transplant Center will discuss treatment options for each patient with end-stage renal disease and recommend if transplant is the best option for the patient based on his/her disease severity, age, lifestyle, and overall health.

Dialysis

Dialysis is the mechanical removal of wastes and excess fluid from the body when the kidneys are not able to perform this function. The frequency and length of dialysis will vary for each patient depending on the type of dialysis performed and the overall health and needs of the patient.

There are two primary types of dialysis for patients affected by end-stage renal disease:

  • Hemodialysis
  • Peritoneal dialysis

In hemodialysis, the patient is connected through an intravenous (IV) tube to an external filtering device, called a dialyser. This machine filters the blood and removes excess fluid and waste. The filtered blood is then returned to the body through the IV tube. Patients undergoing hemodialysis receive treatment at a dialysis center, and in some cases may have treatment at home. The frequency of hemodialysis treatments are typically three times per week for several hours.

Peritoneal dialysis uses the peritoneal membrane, which lines the abdominal cavity, to filter waste and excess fluid from the body. The process begins by placing a catheter in the abdomen, which allows the cleansing fluid (dialysate) to enter the patient and flush the waste and fluid. Once trained on the treatment process, peritoneal dialysis is typically performed by the patient at home and often at night, during sleep.

In both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, a restricted diet is usually recommended by the physician and dietitian to help maintain the overall health of the patient.

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