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Kidney Failure: Choosing a Treatment That's Right for You - Chart

Hemodialysis Peritoneal Dialysis Kidney Transplantation
In Center
Three treatments a week for 3 to 5 hours or more.
More flexibility in determining your schedule of treatments.
Four to six exchanges a day, every day.
Three to five exchanges a night, every night, with an additional exchange begun first thing in the morning.
You may wait several years before a suitable kidney is available.
If a friend or family member is donating, you can schedule the operation when you're both ready.
After the operation, you'll have regular checkups with your doctor.
Dialysis center.
Any clean environment that allows solution exchanges.
The transplant operation takes place in a hospital.
Available in most communities; may require travel in some rural areas.
Generally available, but not widely used because of equipment requirements.
Widely available.
Widely available.
Transplant centers are located throughout the country. However, the demand for kidneys is far greater than the supply.
and Supplies
No equipment or supplies in the home.
Hemodialysis machine connected to plumbing; chair.
Bags of dialysis solution take up storage space.
Cycling machine; bags of dialysis solution.
No equipment or supplies needed.
Training Required
Little training required; clinic staff perform most tasks.
You and a helper must attend several training sessions.
You'll need to attend several training sessions.
You'll need to learn about your medications and when to take them.
Must limit fluids, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Must limit sodium and calories.
Fewer dietary restrictions.
Level of Freedom
Little freedom during treatments. Greater freedom on non-treatment days.
More freedom to set your own schedule. You're still linked to a machine for several hours a week.
You can move around, exercise, work, drive, etc., with solution in your abdomen.
You're linked to a machine during the night. You're free from exchanges during the day.
Offers the greatest amount of freedom.
Level of Responsibility
Some patients prefer to let clinic staff perform all tasks.
You and your helper are responsible for cleaning and setting up equipment and monitoring vital signs. Can be stressful on family helpers.
You must perform exchanges four to six times a day, every day.
You must set up your cycler every night.
You must take immunosuppressants every day for as long as the transplanted kidney functions.

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

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September 2010