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How is dialysis done?

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Dialysis can be done by two methods - haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

Haemodialysis is the most commonly used method of dialysis. The blood is filtered through a dialysis machine that removes the body wastes and extra fluid. A plastic tube or catheter is inserted into a large vein in the neck or upper chest. Alternatively, a permanent connection or shunt is installed between an artery and a vein, usually in the forearm. The dialysis machine is attached to the catheter or shunt. Regular haemodialysis is done about thrice weekly, usually in special dialysis clinics by trained staff. The dialysis procedure is painless and takes 2 to 3 hours per session.

Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of the abdominal cavity as a filter to clean the blood. Once a day, a special fluid is put in the abdomen through an opening or port made surgically. The lining of the abdominal cavity allows fluid, wastes, and electrolytes to pass from the blood to the fluid in the cavity. The fluid is left inside for about 2 hours and then drained out through the port. The body wastes are removed along with the fluid. Peritoneal dialysis can be done at home with special training. The latter is called CAPD (Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis).

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