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What are the Different Types of Kidney Failure Treatment?

By B. Galbreath
Updated May 17, 2024
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The kidneys are a major organ because they work to filter blood and rid the body of waste. Kidney failure is a serious problem and can be caused by a number of things, including dehydration, irregular blood flow to the kidneys, diabetes and kidney stones. There are two types of kidney failure treatment: dialysis and kidney transplant. A healthcare professional will take into consideration the patient's symptoms, kidney function and medical well-being when deciding which kidney failure treatment is right for him or her.

There are two different types of dialysis, called hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis involves the use of a soft tube to filter the blood through the body to a dialyzer, or an artificial kidney, which cleans the blood and then filters it back into the body. This type of treatment may be done at home, in a hospital or at a special center. The frequency of treatment can vary from three times per week to six times per week and might be done while the patient is sleeping.

In the second form of dialysis, peritoneal dialysis, treatment is delivered internally. Dialysate, a blood-cleaning fluid, is inserted into the abdomen through a catheter. The fluid cleanses waste and excess fluid from the blood, is drained from the body and is then replaced, providing the patient with constant kidney failure treatment.

Two treatment options are available for peritoneal dialysis: continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) and continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD). With CAPD, the patient changes the fluid himself or herself four to six times a day. With CCPD, the patient hooks up to a machine, which empties and refills the fluid. This type of treatment is less intrusive than hemodialysis in that it can be done anywhere, giving the patient more freedom.

The other option for kidney failure treatment is a kidney transplant. In this procedure, an operation is performed to remove the unhealthy kidney from the patient and replace it with a healthy kidney from a donor. After the surgery has been performed, the recipient will be prescribed medication that must be taken to ensure that his or her body doesn't reject the new kidney.

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Discussion Comments

By bagley79 — On May 29, 2011

I have heard that in the cases of kidney donors, the one who is giving the kidney often has a longer recovery time than the person receiving. I knew a lady who gave one of her kidneys to a friend who had renal kidney failure.

Her friend had struggled for many years and was waiting for a donor. When they discovered they were a match, it was pretty exciting. They are both doing well and I can imagine the extreme emotions on both sides.

By honeybees — On May 28, 2011

Neither one of them sound like they would be much fun, but I am thankful there are several options to treat kidney failure. Once my uncle started kidney disease treatment with dialysis he had so much more energy and felt better than he had in a long time.

It is a time commitment though. I think he had to spend at least 15 hours a week in dialysis, but would be worth it if you could get some quality of life back.

By andee — On May 25, 2011

It is amazing to me that a person can live a healthy life with just one kidney. My sister may have to have a kidney transplant and she lives near a Mayo Clinic.

I can't remember how many kidney transplants they do every year at that hospital, but it was a huge number. They recommended her to have a transplant instead of even going on dialysis.

I imagine that dialysis could get to be quite a chore, but I would also worry about rejection issues if I went with a transplant.

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