Machines used for kidney dialysis try to mimic the function of the kidney in the human body. One of the main roles of a kidney is to purify the blood by removing urea and certain salts from it. In a dialysis machine, urea and salts are filtered from the blood with the help of tubes made of a semi-porous membrane. Kidney dialysis machines offer many advantages, as well as disadvantages.
Dialysis at Home
There are two options available for patients who require dialysis—hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. With hemodialysis, patients have the option of performing dialysis at home by installing a hemodialysis machine; however, many different things need to be considered before implementing this option, such as the physical and mental capability of the operator, whether the symptoms are stabilised or not, potential complications of other health conditions and if there is space to keep the machine and equipment.
There are people who fulfil the criteria for dialysis at home, but prefer not to use it. Instead many people opt for the care of a professional staff. Home dialysis is also extremely time-consuming. People who help to run the dialysis machine for another person must be consistently available for several hours—normally several days per week.
With hemodialysis, the machine does not need to be used as frequently as peritoneal dialysis machines, and the patients get four dialysis-free days in a week.
Peritoneal Dialysis Advantages
Equipment used in peritoneal dialysis is portable, so the patient can travel more freely as they are not confined to a specific area—which is the requirement of hemodialysis.
In hemodialysis, the machine needs to be used three times every week, and a single dialysis session lasts for about four hours. This requires a consistent schedule every week and prevents the person from having the ability to be mobile, due to the immobility of the machine.
Peritoneal dialysis--although mobile--still has the distinct disadvantage that it must be performed everyday.