What is dialysis?

When the kidneys are not functioning properly, dialysis does the job of filtering toxins and harmful waste products from the blood instead. Dialysis does not make the kidneys work again. It usually involves being connected to a machine that cleans the blood before returning it to the body. Dialysis is necessary until a transplant can be performed. For some people who are not suitable for transplants, dialysis remains the long-term treatment option for them.

There are two main methods of dialysis known as’ haemodialysis’ and ‘peritoneal dialysis’:

  • Haemodialysis
    This is the most common type of dialysis. A tube is attached to a needle in the arm. Blood flows out from the body through the tube into a machine where it is filtered before being returned to the body. This takes about 4 hours and is usually required 3 times a week. Before the first dialysis treatment starts, a minor surgery is required to join together two types of blood vessel – this is known as an arteriovenous fistula. This is done to strengthen the vessel and make the dialysis easier to perform.
  • Peritoneal dialysis
    This method does not use an external machine, but instead uses the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum) to filter waste from the thousands of tiny blood vessels around it. Before this treatment starts, a minor surgery is needed to insert a small tube called a catheter into the abdomen, near the belly button. Dialysis fluid is then pumped into the body through the catheter. As blood flows through the vessels in the peritoneum, waste products and toxins are drawn out of the blood into this fluid. The used fluid is collected in a bag and replaced with fresh fluid. This can be done overnight while the patient sleeps, or can be repeated 4 times during the day.

What we offer

Here at the Royal Free Hospital Private Patients Unit (PPU), we are proud to offer access to leading specialists in renal medicine who work within an experienced multidisciplinary team. We are dedicated to delivering the highest standards of care to our patients. We offer access to a wide range of expertise for the management of CKD and related conditions. We also have a fully-equipped, 6-chair dialysis unit.

Our dedicated renal medicine team are experts in their field and have many years of experience treating kidney failure at the leading kidney units within the UK. Our consultant team have a range of specialist interests, including kidney transplantation, managing critical illness, chronic renal failure and kidney problems in pregnancy.

We are committed to reinvesting all the profits from our private services directly back into NHS services. We deliver the professional excellence you would expect from a top London NHS teaching hospital with the convenience, comfort and personalised attention of a private hospital.

Get in touch

    Make an enquiry online using this form and one of our team will be in touch. By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by our team.