Dialysis

About

Dialysis is a treatment provided to people whose kidneys are no longer working. During the treatment the waste products (toxins) and excess fluid that your kidneys would normally get rid of are removed by dialysis. The dialysis takes place either in one of our dialysis units or patients can opt to be trained to complete their own dialysis at home. Dialysis treatment is typically required three times per week for a duration of three to four hours.

The dialysis programme provided by Imperial College Renal and Transplant Centre is the largest single service in the UK, with 1,400 patients receiving dialysis through our hospitals, satellite centres and home-based programmes. We have particular expertise in the use of dialysis catheters. We aspire to excellence in care, with particular interest in appropriately serving patient choice in dialysis, vascular access and facilitating transplantation, reducing cardiovascular complications, and support for the young, elderly and frail. The service is strengthened by active research in these areas. We have an active programme of education for our doctors in training, a dialysis academy biannually for our multidisciplinary team, and hands-on opportunity for people to learn in patient seminars.

Treatments

Dialysis is usually discussed as an option with people whose kidneys are failing so that they can make a choice as to how they wish to be treated to maintain a fulfilling life. Treatment choices include home therapy – either peritoneal dialysis or home haemodialysis – or a centre-based haemodialysis.

We encourage dialysis as a bridge to transplantation, unless life would not be improved by transplantation. During dialysis, treatments of waste products and fluid are filtered and removed from the body. Peritoneal dialysis is a daily treatment at home over a period of several hours and can be automated at night, Haemodialysis is an alternate day treatment for an average of four to five hours, in a dialysis centre for the majority of people, and at home for a smaller number of suitable people after training. Whichever type if dialysis is used, we encourage shared care and engagement in the process.

Learn more about dialysis treatment options and what you can expect when you come to your appointments.

Additional information

NHS Choices – dialysis

Kidney Dialysis Information Centre

Kidney Failure Patient Decision Aid App