Kidney Failure

The function of the kidneys includes filtering the wastes and fluids that maintains the levels of chemical substances in the blood. However, kidney failure may occur due to several causes, such as infections, medications, cardiovascular disease, allergic reactions, and liver diseases. In such cases, the kidney is unable to perform its functions. In such cases, an external procedure is required to complete the role of the kidney. This process of filtering the blood with out-of-body assistance is known as dialysis.

  • Hemodialysis: Hemodialysis is the procedure of filtering the wastes, fluids, and salts from the blood with the assistance of a dialysis machine. The doctor advises the patients to undergo hemodialysis when their kidney is not functioning normally. With hemodialysis, patients with kidney failure can lead an active life. The patients undergoing hemodialysis have several complications, such as itching, muscle cramps, low blood pressure, bone disease, anemia, amyloidosis, complications at the access site, and altered potassium levels. The medical care team monitoring the patients effectively manages these complications.
  • Peritoneal Dialysis: In peritoneal dialysis, the lining of the abdomen acts as a filter that removes wastes from the blood. After a scheduled period, the fluid and the wastes flow from the abdomen. The complications with peritoneal dialysis include weight gain, hernia, infections, and ineffective dialysis (over time). Types of peritoneal dialysis include continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis and automated peritoneal dialysis.


There are several differences between hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. While hemodialysis requires a hemodialysis machine, no machine is required for peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis usually requires hospital settings, while peritoneal dialysis can be done at home. The mechanism behind hemodialysis is hydrostatic pressure, while peritoneal dialysis is done through osmotic pressure through dextrose dialysate.

Dialysis is an expensive and time-consuming procedure. Not all people desire to pursue dialysis. Once a person decides not to undergo dialysis, the healthcare team aims to manage the symptoms caused by kidney dysfunction and to slow down the progression of kidney damage. The kidney releases the hormone erythropoietin, which regulates the production of RBC. Therefore, the patient needs to receive an EPO injection every week. Further, it is important to maintain healthy blood pressure and to avoid medications that negatively affect kidney health. The patients should drink adequate fluids to avoid dehydration. The other option for such patients is to undergo kidney transplantation.