Dialysis does the work of healthy kidneys by using a machine to filter body fluid and waste. Dialysis is able to:

  • Rid the body of harmful substances, extra salt and water
  • Maintain a normal level of chemicals such as potassium, sodium and chloride
  • Help control blood pressure

Dialysis is a long-term treatment for kidney failure. When your child’s kidneys fail, dialysis is needed on a regular basis to help your child’s kidneys function normally. There are two types of dialysis—hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

  1. Hemodialysis uses a man-made membrane called a dialyzer to remove wastes and return electrolytes to the body. These treatments can take up to four hours at a time and need to be done two to three times a week. Hemodialysis is usually done in a hospital or clinic setting.
  2. Peritoneal dialysis uses the body’s own peritoneal membrane (a thin covering on the inside of the abdomen or belly) to filter the blood. Peritoneal dialysis may be done at home. The two forms of peritoneal dialysis are:
    • CCPD (Continuous Cycle Peritoneal Dialysis)—this uses a machine to perform dialysis, usually at night. A parent needs to assist with this type of dialysis, and it is most suitable for young children.
    • CAPD (Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis)—this type is usually done during the day. It can be done by the patient and may be better suited for an older child.