How Does Kidney Dialysis Work?


According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney dialysis works by removing waste, salt and extra water from the body in the event that one's kidneys have failed. Kidney dialysis also helps to keep a safe level of certain chemicals in the blood as well as helping to control one's blood pressure.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, dialysis is needed in patients that develop end-stage kidney failure. This happens when the patient loses around 85 to 90 percent of her kidney function and her GFR is less than 15. Dialysis can be performed in a hospital setting, at home or in specialized clinics outside of a hospital. The National Kidney Foundation states that there are two major types of dialysis, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, each of which works in a different way. In hemodialysis, an artificial kidney removes waste and extra chemicals from the body. To get to one's blood supply into the artificial kidney, a doctor needs to perform a minor operation to open a blood vessel. The patient is then connected to the machine for a length of time, usually several hours. In peritoneal dialysis, one's blood is cleaned inside the body by slowly injecting a surgically implanted catheter with a dialysate. The patient's blood supply stays within their peritoneal cavity while the dialysate removes toxins. After several hours, the dialysate is drained and thrown away.