What is Dialysis? The Ins and Outs of Being Treated

By South Valley Vascular
April 28, 2023

For patients whose kidneys can no longer filter toxins out of the bloodstream, dialysis treatment can be life-saving. Without dialysis and proper treatment, the body risks exposure to harmful fluids. So, what is dialysis and how does it support proper kidney function? South Valley Vascular is here to answer this question. 

To learn more about kidney health and dialysis treatment, continue reading.

How Does Dialysis Work?

Many patients and clients are curious to know, how does dialysis work? By answering this question, we can create a deeper understanding of kidney treatment and the different forms of dialysis patients may undergo. 

Dialysis is a treatment process that supplements the role of the kidneys when the organs are no longer able to function on their own. There are several types of dialysis, which can be done internally or externally. Each type uses different diffusion or convection methods to remove harmful toxins from the blood.

Three Types of Dialysis Treatment

When the kidneys become compromised, there are a few treatment options available. Each method can be implemented to help rid the bloodstream of toxins and harmful fluids. The type of dialysis treatment used may vary depending on the specific condition affecting the kidneys, as well as the severity. Let’s explore the three types of dialysis treatments commonly used to treat and support kidney health. 


Hemodialysis (HD) utilizes an external filtration device called a dialyzer. During dialysis treatment, the dialyzer connects to an intravenous line to extract blood from the artery. The machine then diffuses out the unwanted toxins and fluid, and returns the blood back into the body through the vascular access point. 

Peritoneal Dialysis 

Peritoneal Dialysis is a more complex form of renal treatment that occurs internally. To perform Peritoneal Dialysis (PD), a catheter is surgically installed to serve as a port or entrance point. It is inserted into the general belly area which is known as the peritoneum. 

During treatment, the peritoneum is filled with a cleansing salt and water mixture called dialysate. This fluid acts as a magnet that extracts unwanted toxins as blood naturally flows through the area. When treatment is complete, the dialysate is drained from the body.  


Hemofiltration is similar to Hemodialysis in that both treatments use an external filtration system to remove toxins from the bloodstream. The key difference between these two treatments is the form of filtration. Hemofiltration uses convection to remove harmful fluids and toxins, while Hemodialysis uses diffusion. 

Kidney Conditions That Require Dialysis Treatment 

Two primary kidney conditions require dialysis treatment. Below are the names of these conditions and what they entail: 

  • Acute Kidney Injury (AKI): Acute Kidney Injury refers to the onset of sudden kidney failure or damage. In mild cases, AKI can be treated with intravenous fluids. If the case of AKI is more extreme, dialysis is the necessary form of treatment. 
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Chronic Kidney Disease involves ongoing kidney damage that progresses over time. Without treatment, CKD can worsen, resulting in kidney failure. This often requires dialysis or a kidney transplant as a form of treatment. 

Kidney conditions can be life-threatening, though treatment can be used to lower the possibility of heightened illness or death. If you or someone you know is experiencing kidney dysfunction, consulting with a healthcare professional can determine the proper course of treatment. 

Dialysis Access Care With South Valley Vascular

South Valley Vascular is here to support all your vascular treatment needs, including dialysis access care. With a team of nine providers, and four convenient locations in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, South Valley Vascular is a top-quality health provider. Contact South Valley Vascular today to learn how they can support your healthcare needs.