Frequently Asked Questions

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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?
  • Diabetes
  • 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