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Advantages and Disadvantages of Kidney Dialysis

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"Advantages and Disadvantages of Kidney Dialysis"
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When the kidneys are no longer able to perform their task of producing urine and filtering out the toxic substances and other byproducts from the blood, it may be necessary for such patients to undergo an artificial filtering process known as kidney dialysis. Haemodialysis and peritoneal-dialysis are the two methods that are employed by the clinicians when a person requires kidney dialysis, although not all patients would become eligible to undergo either one of these procedures. Although undergoing kidney dialysis would save the life of the patient, it can also have its own disadvantages as well. Thus, this article shall discuss the advantages and disadvantages of kidney dialysis in relation to the above-mentioned types of dialysis.

Haemodialysis: Its advantages and disadvantages

Haemodialysis is the process in which an external machine is used to filter extracted blood from the patient and re-introduce the filtered blood back into the person’s circulation. It is an efficient way to filter the blood and in general, it requires a lesser frequency than the peritoneal-dialysis. Thus, a patient undergoing this type of dialysis may require only three sessions of dialysis per week although each dialysis would last for around 4 hours. While the dialysis is in progress, the patient cannot move around and would be restricted to the bed placed near the dialysis machine. In general, a patient undergoing haemodialysis will have to maintain a stricter dietary plan, which minimizes the intake of potassium and phosphorus, than when the person is undergoing peritoneal-dialysis. However, although haemodialysis is a relatively cumbersome process, it can give the patient vital access to a health care team, as the entire dialysis process is performed at a health facility with adequate equipment and personnel.

When considering a person undergoing long-term dialysis, it is possible for such patients to develop disorders such as depression, while at any time, there is a risk of developing infections pertaining to the access sites. Furthermore, these patients could also risk developing low blood pressure following a dialysis.

Peritoneal dialysis: Its advantages and disadvantages

Peritoneal dialysis, on the other hand, can allow the patient to spend an active lifestyle than those who are engaged in haemodialysis, because it does not require the person to visit a medical center and be at one place until the dialysis is complete. Instead, the peritoneal dialysis works as a slow and continuous process and makes use of the peritoneum lining the abdominal cavity as the filter instead of using an external filtering machine. This arrangement gives the patient control over the dialysis process and the scheduling would also be much more flexible than the dialysis schedule for haemodialysis. However, the peritoneal dialysis may have to be performed several times a day and in certain instances, the dialysis should be carried out as an automated process attached to an external instrument during the night.

Although having control over the dialysis will give more freedom to the patient, it can increase the risk of infections as well as handling errors. Furthermore, peritoneal dialysis would require the insertion of an external catheter to drain the filtrate while the patient’s body shape would also be compromised as a result. Furthermore, patients who are undergoing peritoneal dialysis will also risk gaining weight and build-up of cholesterol, which can lead to certain other diseases. However, the slow and continued process of blood filtering would put less pressure on the heart and therefore peritoneal dialysis could be of use for those with poor heart function.

Although there are advantages and disadvantages pertaining to each dialysis method, it can save the life of a patient with kidney diseases and may be the only alternative available in such instances.

More about this author: Dr Pandula Siribaddana

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