What is Dialysis?
Dialysis is an artificial way of filtering and purifying blood with the help of a dialysis machine. It is a treatment widely used for patients with kidney failure.
This procedure is also popular by the name of Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT), as it replaces the kidneys and performs their functions.
Additionally, this procedure helps maintain a balance of fluids and electrolytes in the blood which is essential for living.
Under what circumstances a person needs dialysis?
In the human body, the pair of kidneys play the vital role of removing waste and excess fluids from the blood.
Each day, a pair of healthy and normal kidneys can filter 120 to 150 quarts of blood. The body then gets rid of the excess waste and fluids gathered in the bladder through urination.
Additionally, Kidneys play a primary role in regulating the blood pressure of the body by preserving a balance in sodium and potassium levels in the blood.
However, a problem may arise in the kidney due to Diabetes, Hypertension, or an injury.
In certain situations such as Chronic Kidney disease, the kidneys get severely damaged, leading to a loss of 85 to 90% of kidney functions. Therefore, making them unfit to perform normally.
Consequently, a large amount of waste and fluids will accumulate in the blood leading to poisoning of the blood.
In such a situation, Dialysis becomes an excellent option for checking the level of waste products in the blood. Therefore, it becomes a reliable treatment for patients with damaged kidneys.
What are the types of Dialysis?
There are three main approaches to dialysis.
Hemodialysis is like an artificial Kidney setup. In this, an “Access”, inserted into
the vein, plays the role of the channel through which blood comes out and gets into the tube. The blood then circulates in a machine equipped with special filters.
The special filters eliminate the waste products out of the blood. Also, the purified blood is then channelized back inside the body via a different soft tube.
However, the patient has to go for a minor blood vessel enlargement surgery that would facilitate smooth insertion of the access.
Additionally, there are three kinds of access: an AV fistula, a graft, and a catheter. Mostly, AV Fistula access is suitable for long-term dialysis.
A patient might have to take 3 sessions per week and each session may take 4 hours.
Peritoneal dialysis is another option for removing impurities from the blood. It works on the principle of diffusion.
It uses a sterile dialysate solution that is rich in glucose and minerals.
This dialysate solution is then made to pass inside the peritoneal cavity in the abdomen. Additionally, this cavity has a natural, semi-permeable, peritoneal membrane.
The high concentration of glucose and minerals in the solution creates an osmotic pressure. Consequently, the pressure causes the waste to move from the blood to dialysate due to osmosis. Hence, the blood is purified, whereas, the dialysate containing the waste is discarded.
Though the procedure is easy, Peritoneal dialysis takes more time.
It can be carried out in two ways:
Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)
In CAPD, dialysate is left inside the peritoneal cavity for 8-9 hours. After that, the solution is removed. Though no machine is required, a patient will have to repeat this at least 4-5 times a day.
Continuous cyclic peritoneal dialysis (CCPD)
CCPD uses a machine, and it takes 10 to 12 hours to complete. Therefore, this procedure is mostly carried out at night.
Peritoneal dialysis is preferable for the elderly, infants, and children as hemodialysis can be more exhausting for them. However, chances of infection are more in Peritoneal dialysis.
Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT)
CRRT is a continuous therapy that runs for 24 hours. This approach is mainly for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Also, the technique may use either filtration or diffusion. People with acute kidney failure might have to go for this kind of Kidney Dialysis.
How long can a person live on dialysis?
In case of kidney failure, a patient might have to go for dialysis every day. This stops when the person gets a Kidney transplant. Also, a dialysis life expectancy depends on the patient’s medical conditions.
The average dialysis life expectancy is 5 to 10 years. However, some patients continue to live on for 20 to 30 years if they take all special care.
Kidney Dialysis treatment is essential for patients with damaged kidneys. Based on the medical condition, the patient might have to undergo Hemodialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis, or Continuous Renal Replacement. Always consult your doctor and clarify all your doubts regarding the procedure.