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A patient undergoing hemodialysis treatment.

A diagram depicting the  plasmapheresis process.

You need dialysis if your kidneys no longer remove enough wastes and fluid from your blood to keep you healthy. This usually happens when you have only 10 to 15 percent of your kidney function left. You may have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, swelling and fatigue. However, even if you don't have these symptoms yet, you can still have a high level of wastes in your blood that may be toxic to your body. Your doctor is the best person to tell you when you should start dialysis.


This technique cleans the blood of wastes and fluids by passing it through an artificial kidney, or dialyzer. To get your blood into the dialyzer, the doctor needs to make an access, or entrance, into your blood vessels. This is done with minor surgery, usually to your arm . It is typically done three times a week for three and a half to four hours each treatment.

Peritoneal Dialysis

In PD, a soft tube called a catheter is used to fill your abdomen with a cleansing liquid called dialysis solution. This therapy uses a membrane inside the abdomen as a filter. Sterile solution bathes the membrane and filters out the impurities. Because this is a daily therapy, waste products stay at a more constant level. Our dialysis nurse closely monitor for sign of infections since it's the most common complication of Peritoneal Dialysis.

  • Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis(CAPD) – performed for about 30 minutes, four or five times each day, in a clean and private area.   
  • Continuous Cyclic Peritoneal Dialysis (or automated peritoneal dialysis) – uses a cycler machine to perform dialysis, often at night during sleep

Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT)

Used as alternative therapy for patients who are too ill or unstable for standard hemodialysis, this slow, ongoing form of blood filtration gently removes extra fluid and waste products. It is usually used to treat acute kidney injury (AKI), but may be of benefit in multiple organ dysfunction syndrome or sepsis. CRRT is only performed in selected facilities and usually perform in ICU.


(also called plasma exchange) is a process in which the liquid part of the blood, or plasma, is seperated from the blood cells. Typically, the plasma is replaced with another solution such as saline or albumin, or the plasma is treated and then returned to your body.  When sick, your plasma can contain antibodies that attack the immune system. A machine can be used to remove the affected plasma and replace it with good plasma or a plasma substitute. The process is very similar to hemodialysis.

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Southland Medical Dialysis

Peritoneal Dialysis Diagram.