Dialysis – Side Effects and Dangers

Dialysis, which is primarily used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney function is a life saving treatment for those with end stage renal failure.

However in both forms of Dialysis Peritoneal Dialysis and Hemodialysis the patient may experience certain side effects from the treatment.

Side Effects Of Peritoneal Dialysis:

In Peritoneal Dialysis a Catheter is inserted into the patient’s abdomen running from the peritoneum to the surface. The exchange of Dialysis fluid must be done carefully to avoid the spread of an infection. The frequent handling of the catheter and access to the peritoneum results in an increased risk of infection. Infections that reach the peritoneum can be more serious and in some cases severe infections of the peritoneum can be life threatening.

Peritoneal Dialysis in the long term can cause changes in the peritoneal membrance thus causing it to no longer act as a dialysis membrane as well as it used to.

  Hernia  is another problem that can occur due to the fluid load in the abdominal cavity. The insertion of the catheter into the abdominal cavity can also weaken the abdominal walls.

Side Effects Of HemoDialysis:

As most patients with renal failure pass little (or) no urine, HemoDialysis often involves fluid removal. If too much fluid is removed it can lead to side effects such as low blood pressure, fatigue, chest pain, leg cramps and nausea.

As Hemodialysis requires access to the circulatory system, patients may expose their circulatory system to microbes which may lead to an infection of the heart valves(endocarditis) or it can even affect the bones(osteomyelitis).

First use Syndrome is a very rare but severe reaction to the artificial kidney. Symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath, back pain, chest pain (or) sudden death.