Renal dialysis

Renal dialysis is a treatment that helps your kidneys continue to function when they have stopped working properly.

It removes salt and waste from your body, maintains a safe level of chemicals in your blood and keeps your blood pressure in check.

Some people need renal dialysis for a short time, until their kidneys return to good health. Others need dialysis for end-stage kidney failure and usually need to continue treatment for the rest of their lives. In some cases, a kidney transplant may be an option, which can overcome the need for dialysis.

Renal dialysis can have a big impact on your day-to-day life. Our caregivers will work with you to ensure your dialysis is done at the most suitable time and place for you.

Our renal dialysis services

Our nephrologists, urologists, dietitians, registered nurses and allied health professionals work together to minimise the effects of kidney failure. We provide access to the latest dialysis technology so you can live as full a life as possible. Our dialysis is performed as an outpatient treatment.

Types of renal dialysis

There are two types of renal dialysis: haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Your nephrologist will discuss which type is most appropriate for you.

Haemodialysis

Haemodialysis happens outside the body. It involves pumping blood from your bloodstream into a machine (dialyser) that filters waste and excess water, then pumps the filtered blood back into your bloodstream. The process takes about four to five hours, and is done at least three times per week. It should not be painful.

Before you can begin haemodialysis, you will need surgery to create a ‘vascular access’ so you can get access to your bloodstream. This can often be done as day surgery. Your doctor will talk to you about the most suitable vascular access for you, and how to look after it.

We offer this haemodialysis as a satellite service, in connection with Ballarat Health Services, for patients who are stable and do not need acute care.

Peritoneal dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis happens inside your body. It uses the membrane in your peritoneal (abdominal) cavity to filter your blood. A soft tube called a catheter is surgically inserted into your abdomen. One end of the tube sticks out of your body so it can be connected to a bag containing a special fluid called dialysate. Waste products are drawn out of your blood into the dialysate and then removed, in what’s known as an ‘exchange’.

There are two types of peritoneal dialysis.

  • Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) takes about 30 minutes and is done about four times each day. You can do each ‘exchange’ yourself by connecting, draining and replacing the bag of fluid.
  • Automated peritoneal dialysis (APD) takes about eight to 10 hours and is done while you sleep. A machine does several ‘exchanges’ overnight, then during the day the fluid is left inside your body.

Pre-dialysis education

If you have chronic kidney disease and are about to start dialysis, education will be provided by the dialysis service.

Further reading

Nephrology

Urology

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