Which kind of dialysis?

Care and treatments for people with kidney failure

You will have been advised to start thinking about how you would prefer your kidney disease managed in the future

You may have been informed about starting dialysis or a kidney transplant (often called renal replacement therapy).

The alternative is to think about only having active supportive care instead – this means having drugs or diet changes only. This treatment aims to manage your symptoms only and keeping your kidneys working for as long as possible but without dialysis. It is really important to consider this option carefully and think about your future.

Which kind of dialysis to have?

Medical factors and local availability have to be taken into account when deciding which method of dialysis to have - but many patients do have a choice. To make an informed choice, they need to learn something about the different kinds of dialysis - the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how they would fit into their life.

One way to do this is to meet experienced members of the Haemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis staff teams, who can provide support and information, and answer questions. Another way is to meet and talk to patients who are already established on the different dialysis treatments. (It can be a good idea for close relatives or carers to attend these meetings).

If you are choosing between haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, you need to know that both methods are equally effective. Haemodialysis works more quickly than peritoneal dialysis, so it only needs to be done in short sessions three times a week. Peritoneal dialysis is more gentle, but needs to be performed every day.

An introduction to haemodialyis and An introduction to peritoneal dialysis will give you a basic idea of what's involved in each treatment and help get you started on the decision-making process.

Do bear in mind the fact that your first choice of treatment may not be the only choice... You may find that you change your mind, or that medical considerations make it necessary for you to change to another treatment.

Whichever form of dialysis you choose, you will be trained in all aspects of using it in your Renal Unit.

There are some useful sources of information online including from Kidney Research UK

Back to Dialysis

See also: Treating kidney failure through Dialysis