Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question to expand the section and see the answer.
What is End Stage Renal Disease?
- When kidneys no longer function efficiently, it is called End Stage Renal Disease, or “ ESRD ” for short.
- This is also called Chronic Renal Failure, or “ CRF ” for short.
Why do kidneys stop working?
- High Blood Pressure
- Chronic Kidney infections
- Severe injury
- Birth defects
- Certain drugs
- Other Kidney disease
How do normal kidneys function?
- Remove extra water
- Remove waste products
- Balance chemicals in the body
- Help control blood pressure
- Help produce red blood cells
- Aids in building strong bones
What Happens when Kidneys fail?
- The Kidneys are not able to clean waste products from the blood.
- Waste products build up in the blood causing you to feel sick.
- The build up of waste products is called uremia.
What are the signs of kidney failure?
- Extreme tiredness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty sleeping
- Swelling in the hands, face, and feet
- High blood pressure
What can be done when the patient's kidneys fail?
- Dialysis and kidney transplantation are procedures to replace lost kidney function.
- Diet and medication are important treatments for kidney failure.
- The dietician will advise the patient on what foods to eat to help you feel better.
- The doctor will order medicine to help with problems such as blood pressure control and water removal.
What are my dialysis treatment Options?
- Dialysis is a procedure used to treat kidney failure
- Dialysis does some of the things a normal kidney does, such as:
- Remove extra water from the body,
- Remove the waste products that have built up in the blood.
What about a transplant?
- A Kidney transplant places a healthy kidney from another person into your body. Transplants can come from living or non-living (cadaveric) donors.
- The new kidney is placed in your lower abdomen. Most people need to be hospitalized for 1-2 weeks after their transplant.
- You may need to wait for a Kidney to be available.
- Transplant is a treatment, not a cure
- You will still need to take medicine and see a doctor regularly
- A donor kidney must be a “match” for your body
- Not everyone is a candidate for a transplant
- Your doctor will need to make a complete medical evaluation
What is Hemodialysis?
- Uses an “artificial kidney”, or dialyzer, and a machine
- Blood is pumped through the dialyzer
- Extra water and waste products are removed
- Then the blood is pumped back into your body
- About a cup of blood is outside your body during this procedure
How is access for Hemodialysis obtained?
- Blood flow to the machine usually comes from a vein in the patient’s arm or leg.
- A surgical procedure is done to change a vein into a fistula or graft.
- This fistula or graft is called a blood access.
- Needles are inserted during the dialysis treatment to take blood to the machine and dialyzer.
- If the patient has problems with their fistula or graft, or if they need to start dialysis right away, a temporary tube may be put into vein near the chest or neck for blood access.
How does the Hemodialysis treatment work?
- Haemodialysis is done three times a week
- Each treatment last 3 ½ -4 hours
- Treatments are given at the North West Dialysis Centre
- A nurse and a technician do the treatment in a dialysis clinic
How will I know what to do when I am assigned home dialysis treatment?
- The patient and a family member learn the procedure and do the treatments at home
How will my lifestyle be affected by Hemodialysis?
- The patient will not be able to perform any other activities on some days during dialysis
- They must be able to see and talk to nurses and doctors
- The patient has to follow a strict diet to remain healthy
- Some patients’ experience headaches, cramps, or nausea during the treatments
- The patient will need to check their blood access every day for signs of infection or clotting
What is Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)?
- PD is done by using the patient’s peritoneum as a dialyzer
- The peritoneum is a space in your abdomen
- A thin lining called the peritoneal membrane covers this area inside the human body
- The peritoneal membrane acts as dialyzer for the patient’s blood
- A special fluid called dialysate is put into the peritoneum
- The dialysate stays there for several hours
- Waste product and extra water move through the peritoneal membrane into the dialysate
- Then the used dialysate is drained away and replaced with fresh dialysate
How is access for Peritoneal Dialysis obtained?
- Dialysate goes in and out of the peritoneum through a small tube called a catheter
- The catheter is about the size of a straw
- It is put into the lower abdomen in a minor surgical procedure
- The patient’s clothing covers the catheter when you are not using it
How is Peritoneal Dialysis Done?
- Each treatment is called an exchange
- The catheter connects to special tubing and a bag of fresh dialysate fluid
- Firstly the previous dialysate is drained out of the peritoneum
- The peritoneum is filled with the new dialysate
How will the patient learn to do Dialysis at home?
- The nurses at the clinic will teach the patient how to do their treatments
- Peritoneal dialysis training usually takes 1-2 weeks
- Home haemodialysis teaching usually takes 6-8 weeks
How can the patient take care of themselves?
- The patient must follow a prescribed diet and keep waste and water levels under control
- The patient must take the prescribes medication on time
- The patient must be willing to receive education on possible problems and know who to call for help.
- The patient must stay as physically active as possible
- Socialising with family and friends is important for mental health