Kidney Dialysis

When your kidneys can no longer function on their own, dialysis treatment — the use of a machine or a special cleaning solution to filter wastes from the blood — is essential for survival.

In addition to providing services at three outpatient hemodialysis centers in the Hyde Park area, including nighttime services for patients who work during the day, we run one of Chicago’s largest home dialysis programs. This service allows you to manage your peritoneal or hemodialysis needs in the comfort of your home

The University of Chicago Medicine offers the full spectrum of inpatient, outpatient and at-home dialysis services, including:

Peritoneal Dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis is a method of removing waste products from the blood using a special cleaning solution that is pumped into the abdomen, then discarded several hours later. At UChicago Medicine, we help manage both continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (where you perform the procedure by hand several times a day) and continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (where you connect to a machine for eight to 10 hours, usually while you sleep).

Intermittent Hemodialysis

Intermittent hemodialysis is a type of dialysis that requires you to connect to a machine several times a week, often for several hours each session. The machine removes blood from your body, cleans it and then returns the filtered blood back into your body.

Dialysis Access

When undergoing hemodialysis, a patient’s bloodsteam must be connected to a dialysis machine so that the blood can be filtered. In patients who need life-long hemodialysis, a permanent “dialysis access” is created in the arm to facilitate this connection to a hemodialysis machine. The two most common types of dialysis access are called arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) and arteriovenous grafts (AVG). AVFs and AVGs are usually created by surgically connecting an artery and vein. Blood flows from the artery through the fistula or graft and into the vein, causing it to eventually enlarge. The enlarged vein is ideal for handling all of the blood that will be taken out, filtered and then returned to your body during dialysis.

For select patients, recent advances in technology now allow physicians to create AVFs through a minimally invasive procedure called endoAVF. The endoAVF procedure is performed by a physician who specializes in image-guided procedures. Using X-rays and special magnetic catheters, the physician creates a fistula through two pinholes in the arm, without using scalpels or sutures. Talk with your physician to determine the best dialysis access option.

Continuous Veno-venous Hemofiltration

Continuous veno-venous hemofiltration, hemodiafiltration and slow continuous ultrafiltration are temporary treatments for critically ill patients with acute kidney injury who are unable to tolerate hemodialysis. These treatments, which use tubing and equipment similar to intermitttent dialysis, are exclusively provided in the ICU by a team of trained clinicians, including nephrologists and critical care nurses.

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Kidney Disease