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  • imageHemodialysis (HD) involves the perfusion of blood and dialysate on opposite sides of a semipermeable membrane. Solutes are removed from the blood by diffusion and convection. Excess plasma water is removed by ultrafiltration.

  • imageNative arteriovenous (AV) fistulas are the preferred access for HD because of fewer complications and a longer survival rate. Venous catheters are plagued by complications such as infection and thrombosis and often deliver low blood flow rates.

  • imageAdequacy of HD can be assessed by the Kt/V and urea reduction ratio (URR). The National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative minimum goal Kt/V is greater than 1.2 per treatment and the URR is greater than 65%.

  • imageDuring HD, patients commonly experience hypotension and cramps. Other more serious complications include infection and thrombosis of the vascular access.

  • imagePeritoneal dialysis (PD) involves the instillation of dialysate into the peritoneal cavity via a permanent peritoneal catheter. The peritoneal membrane lines the highly vascularized abdominal viscera and acts as the semipermeable membrane. Solutes are removed from the blood across the peritoneum via diffusion and ultrafiltration. Excess plasma water is removed via ultrafiltration created by osmotic pressure generated by various dextrose or icodextrin concentrations.

  • imagePatients on PD are required to instill and drain, manually or via automated systems, several liters of fresh dialysate each day. The more exchanges completed each day results in greater solute removal.

  • imagePeritonitis is a common complication of PD. Initial empiric therapy for peritonitis should include intraperitoneal antibiotics that are effective against both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms.

  • imageNasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus is associated with an increased risk of catheter-related infections and peritonitis. Prophylaxis with intranasal mupirocin (twice a day for 5 days every month) or mupirocin (daily) at the exit site can effectively reduce S. aureus infections.


Preclass Engaged Learning Activity

Visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website <>. This website is useful to enhance student understanding of and potential treatments for end-stage kidney disease (also known as kidney failure). Review the information provided in the “Hemodialysis” and “Peritoneal Dialysis” links. Watch the video titled “What is Dialysis?” <>. The video provides a brief description of hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.


The three primary treatment options for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are hemodialysis (HD), peritoneal dialysis (PD), and kidney transplantation. The United States Renal Data System (USRDS) is the national system that “collects, analyzes, and distributes” data relating to patients with ESRD or Stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the United States and releases these data yearly.1 According to the 2017 USRDS, at the end of 2015, there were 703,243 patients in the United States with ESRD. Of these, greater than 70 percent were being treated with HD or PD, and nearly 30% had a functioning kidney transplant. In 2012, ...

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