What healthy kidneys do?

Healthy kidneys clean your blood by removing excess fluid (and salt) and wastes. They also make hormones, including Vitamin D (which keeps your bones strong), and erythropoietin that keeps your blood healthy. When your kidneys fail, harmful wastes build up in your body, your blood pressure may rise, and your body may retain excess fluid, leading to ankle swelling and shortness of breath (water in the lungs). When this happens, you need treatment to replace the work of your failed kidneys.

What is Dialysis?

Dialysis is a process that replaces some of the key functions of the kidneys when they stop working properly

Types of dialysis

There are different types of dialysis, called haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis is always done in your home but there are two different types. Haemodialysis can be done either by you in your home, or by travelling regularly to a dialysis unit (centre-based haemodialysis).

Peritoneal dialysis

Currently, in Australia, nearly 25 per cent of people on dialysis are using peritoneal dialysis (PD). About 40 per cent of new patients choose peritoneal dialysis as their first treatment or while they are waiting for a transplant.

There are two types of PD:

-  Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)

-  The day-time bags;

-  Automated peritoneal dialysis (APD)

-  The overnight machine

Both use the same catheter (tube), which is placed in the abdomen (tummy). Special PD fluid is used to clean your blood. It is changed regularly. In between fluid changes, you can carry out your normal activities. Most people choose the overnight machine and have the dialysis while they sleep. You can find more information on the Kidney Health Australia (KHA) website https://kidney.org.au/ .



Home haemodialysis (HHD) is done at least three times a week and lasts for at least four to five hours. It can also be done overnight. Home HD offers a lot of flexibility around the timing of your dialysis and how many hours you can do. Doing some additional hours is better for your health.

Currently, in Australia, about one in ten people on dialysis are on home haemodialysis.

If you are going to do home HD you will need to learn to manage your own dialysis. The equipment is all provided free to your home. If you think home haemodialysis may be an option you should learn as much about it as you can.

NOTE: The information on dialysis has been sourced from Kidney Health Australia & Kidney Care UK & ANZDATA websites on 22nd October 2018   


Dialysis Type in Australia, Ethnicity