Uganda Kidney Foundation

what is kidney dialysis?

When a patient’s kidneys are in a state of failure, they require some form of medical treatment to help their body complete the work their own kidneys can not perform on their own. Dialysis is a common treatment option for such patients.When a patient is treated using dialysis, a machine is used to perform some of the functions normally managed by a healthy kidney. This machine cleans and filters a patient’s blood, removes extra fluid, and clears away the body’s excess waste and build up.

Dialysis Treatment Options

Home haemodialysis

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.

Centre-based haemodialysis

Centre-based haemodialysis usually takes place in a hospital or ‘satellite’ dialysis unit. The treatment itself is the same as home haemodialysis. There is also a special version of haemodialysis known as haemodiafiltration, which cleans the blood in a slightly different way. It’s becoming more widely available. Some people do better on haemodiafiltration, particularly those on dialysis for many years.

Dialysis & wellbeing

When you are on dialysis it’s important to pay attention to your general wellbeing.

Emotional health
A very important aspect of wellbeing is your emotional health. It’s not unusual for people on dialysis to need additional support in difficult times.

Community belonging
It’s been proven that people who are involved in community activities are generally healthier. 


One of the most important steps in taking care of your health is to know your options. If you go on dialysis there are various types of dialysis you can do, depending on your lifestyle and overall health: In hemodialysis, your blood flows through a special filter that removes wastes and extra fluids. The clean blood is then returned to your body. Removing the harmful wastes and extra salt and fluids helps control your blood pressure and keep the proper balance of chemicals like potassium and sodium in your body. One of the biggest adjustments you must make when you start hemodialysis treatments is following a strict schedule. Most patients go to a clinic-a dialysis center a minimum of three times a week for 3 to 5 or more hours each visit. Shorter daily sessions or longer sessions performed overnight while you sleep are more effective in removing wastes.

Access Choices

Shorter daily sessions or longer sessions performed overnight while you sleep are more effective in removing wastes. Hemodialysis Access Choices Fistula – A type of vascular access that is created by connecting one of the arteries to one of the veins in the lower arm. A fistula is the most effective type of dialysis access. Graft – A type of vascular access that uses a piece of synthetic tubing sewn between an artery and a vein if a fistula is not available. Hemodialysis Catheter – Though typically not used for permanent access, a hemodialysis catheter may be used temporarily if kidney disease has progressed quickly and other access has not been obtained. In this case, a catheter is placed in a vein in the neck (jugular vein), chest (subclavian vein), or leg (femoral vein). Dialysis catheters are also used for patients needing dialysis while their permanent access develops.

Peritoneal dialysis (CAPD, CCPD)

In peritoneal dialysis, your blood is cleaned inside your body. A doctor places a soft plastic tube called a catheter into your (belly) to make an access. During the treatment, your abdominal area (the peritoneal cavity) is slowly filled with dialysate through the catheter. The blood stays in the arteries and veins that line your peritoneal cavity, and extra fluid and waste products are drawn out of your blood and into the dialysate.

There are two major kinds of peritoneal dialysis:

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD). Is the only type of PD that is done without machines. You do this yourself, usually four or five times a day at home and/or at work. You put a bag of dialysate (about two quarts) into your peritoneal cavity through the catheter. The dialysate stays there for about four or five hours before it is drained back into the bag and thrown away.

Automated Peritoneal Dialysis (APD). Is usually done at home using a special machine called a cycler. This is similar to CAPD except that a number of cycles (exchanges) occur. Each cycle usually lasts 1.5 hours and exchanges are done overnight, while you sleep.

The best campus facilities

Children on dialysis are very special, and so are their carers. Chronic kidney disease can affect babies through to teenagers. There are specialised children dialysis units around Uganda to provide support, training and care.

Many children with chronic kidney disease will get a kidney transplant, but until then dialysis is the treatment option.

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is usually the treatment of choice for children. It’s gentle and can be done overnight. 

Haemodialysis (HD) is chosen less often for children, but is an effective treatment. Usually it’s centre-based rather than Home HD. 

Healthy lifestyle

If you have chronic kidney disease a healthy lifestyle is very important. When your kidneys are sick, or you’ve had a transplant, or are on dialysis, then exercise, good food, the right drinks and general wellbeing are all important.