Understanding the Differences between Peritoneal Dialysis and Hemodialysis

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) and hemodialysis (HD) are dialysis options for end-stage renal disease patients in whom preemptive kidney transplantation is not possible.

During hemodialysis (HD) the blood is cleaned of extra fluids and waste products through a machine called a dialyzer. In order for the blood to be filtered through the dialyzer, a vascular access is necessary.  Your nephrologist will discuss your vascular access options with you. This is an important decision to make during stages 3 or 4 of CKD. Hemodialysis occurs inside of a dialysis center and is performed by medical staff.  It is usually necessary for a patient to undergo the hemodialysis treatment three times per week.

For eligible patients, there is also the option of home hemodialysis. Your nephrologist can discuss the necessary criteria for receiving this modality.

Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is different from hemodialysis in that it does not require the use of a dialyzer machine or a vascular access. Instead the blood is filtered by the lining of the abdomen via a small abdominal catheter. This process requires that the abdomen be filled with a special solution called dialysate. The solution is then drained from the abdomen, taking the waste products with it. Peritoneal Dialysis can be performed by the patient or caregiver inside the home. It is usually necessary to undergo the peritoneal dialysis treatment daily.

Every patient is unique and dialysis treatment programs should always be designed to fit the patient’s specific clinical and lifestyle needs. As a result, no single treatment option can be characterized as better than another – what is best for one patient might not be the best fit for another. Only you and your doctor can make that decision.


To learn more about your treatment options, please please click the link below.

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