Dialysis Treatment

Learn more about the types of dialysis treatments available and the care you need. Remember, only your nephrologist, along with you, can determine what treatment type is best for your health. 

In-Center Dialysis

The most common treatment for kidney failure.

  • Where: Dialysis center
  • Frequency: 3 treatments per week (on average)
  • Time: 3 to 5 hours for each treatment. This varies by patient based on individual needs determined by the nephrologist.
  • What happens during treatment: Blood travels through tubes from the body, cycles through a special filter (called the dialyzer), then goes back into the body. This continuous cycling of your blood allows the filter to remove waste products and excess fluid. Though it can vary based on the dialysis machine in use, there is approximately one cup of blood outside the body at any point during treatment.
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Home Hemodialysis


Combines the use of a dialysis machine with the convenience of being at home for improved quality of life and the ability to control your own schedule.

  • Where: The patient's home
  • Frequency: 3 to 6 treatments per week (on average)
  • Time: 3 to 5 hours for each treatment. This varies by patient based on individual needs determined by the nephrologist.
  • What happens during treatment: Similar to in-center care, blood travels through tubes from the body, cycles through a special filter (called the dialyzer) to remove waste and excess fluid, and is sent back into the body.
  • Additional requirements: Home hemodialysis treatments require specialized training for both the patient and a caregiver or loved one, who is referred to as the “care partner.” There are also strict considerations for the home environment that need to be met, such as room for supply storage, adequate electrical wiring and a dependable water source.

Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)

Includes the flexibility of dialysis at home with less stress on the body and fewer dietary restrictions.

  • Where: In the patient's home or on the go in a setting that is suitably clean, dry and free of drafts.
  • Frequency: PD is a daily treatment. Some patients choose to complete their treatment at intervals throughout the day, whereas other patients choose to do their treatments at night with the use of a PD cycler. This gives the patient the freedom to do the things they like to do during the day. The nephrologist will work with the patient to determine the best treatment approach.
  • Time: Patients can complete PD treatments either during the day or overnight. If the patient chooses to complete PD treatment during the day, the patient may do 4 to 6 exchanges (the term for the full cycle of filling and draining the abdomen) each day that require 30 to 60 minutes of preparation time. Other than the preparation time, the patient can move freely and stay active during treatment. This type of PD treatment is called Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD).
  • What happens during treatment: PD uses a membrane inside the body, called the peritoneal membrane, located inside the abdomen, as a filter to clear wastes and extra fluid from the body. Unlike in-center and home hemodialysis, PD is a needle-free option that uses the abdomen as the filter.
  • Additional requirements: PD treatments require specialized training with the nephrologist and a certified PD nurse before the patient can conduct treatments on their own. Additionally, patients must have a tube surgically inserted into their abdomen to allow fluid to flow in and out during PD treatments. Patients who have completed their training to do treatments in their home have access to clinic and technical support 24/7.
If the patient chooses to complete their PD treatment at night, they'll use a machine called a cycler, which is usually connected in the evening and disconnected when they wake up in the morning. This type of PD treatment is called Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD).

Nocturnal Dialysis

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Happens at night, while you sleep or relax.

  • Where: At the dialysis center.
  • Frequency: 3 times per week. This varies by patient based on individual needs determined by the nephrologist.
  • Time: 6 to 8 hours. This varies per patient and will be determined based on individual needs.
  • What happens during treatment: Nocturnal dialysis uses a similar process the patient would experience during traditional in-center dialysis treatments, but nocturnal dialysis treatments are longer and slower, making it gentler and easier on the body. This enables patients to be free during the day to go to work or to enjoy other activities and hobbies.

Everyone at your ARA dialysis facility is there to help you. From evaluating treatment options and coordinating your care, to figuring out treatment logistics, to guiding you through a kidney-friendly diet, we are dedicated to providing you with quality care.

Your Treatment Team

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Your dialysis care team is made up of the following people:

  • Nephrologist
  • Nurse practitioner or physician assistant
  • Nephrology nurse
  • Patient Care Technician (PCT)
  • Renal dietitian
  • Nephrology social worker
  • YOU!

The members of your care team will meet with you on a regular basis to make recommendations for your care and listen to your concerns.