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End-stage kidney disease occurs when kidney failure is so advanced that the kidneys can no longer clean the blood and allow you to sustain a healthy life. End stage kidney disease is irreversible and requires either dialysis or kidney transplantation to keep you alive. End-stage kidney disease cannot be treated with medications or herbal supplements. Dialysis is a process that artificially replaces the functions of the kidney. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.


Hemodialysis uses a special filter called a dialyzer. The dialyzer serves as an artificial kidney. During hemodialysis, the patient is connected by a tube to the dialysis machine, which removes the blood, runs it through the dialyzer (filter), cleanses it, and returns the blood back to the patient. Hemodialysis is typically performed for 3 to 4 hours at least three times a week in a dialysis center. Some patients are able to do dialysis at home. Watch a video on hemodialysis.

Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal Dialysis uses the lining of your abdomen (the peritoneal cavity) to filter the blood. A special solution called the dialysate is placed inside your abdomen. The dialysate is drained into your abdomen through a catheter specially placed in your abdomen by a surgeon. While in your abdomen, the dialysate removes waste products and excess fluid, and is then drained out of your abdomen. Peritoneal dialysis may be done during the day or at night.

Learn more about peritoneal dialysis.