Dialysis is a procedure that is performed routinely on persons who suffer from acute or chronic renal failure, or who have end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
The process involves removing waste substances and fluid from the blood that are normally eliminated by the kidneys.
Two types of dialysis that may be performed: hemodialysis or peritoneal. Hemodialysis uses a man-made membrane (dialyzer) to filter wastes and remove extra fluid from the blood. Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneal membrane) and a solution (dialysate) to remove wastes and extra fluid from the body.
Dialysis may also be used for individuals who have been exposed to or ingested toxic substances to prevent renal failure from occurring.