Skip to main content

Dialysis: paediatric

Published on 07 February 2024

The Paediatric Dialysis Service is based in the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. The Service provides a renal pathway for haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis alongside specialist care for children with ultra-rare renal diseases/disorders, integrating with the commissioned paediatric renal transplant programme.

What is Dialysis?

Dialysis is a procedure to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly. It often involves diverting blood to a machine to be cleaned. Normally, the kidneys filter the blood, removing harmful waste products and excess fluid and turning these into urine to be passed out of the body.

There are two main types of dialysis: haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

Haemodialysis is the most common type, during the procedure a tube is attached to a needle in your arm. Blood passes along the tube and into an external machine that filters it before it is passed back into the arm along another tube.

Peritoneal uses the inside lining of your abdomen (the peritoneum) as the filter, rather than the machine. Like the kidneys, the peritoneum contains thousands of tiny blood vessels, making it a useful filtering device. Before treatment starts, a cut (incision) is made near the belly button and a thin tube called a catheter is inserted through the incision and into the space inside the abdomen (the peritoneal cavity). Fluid is pumped into the peritoneal cavity through the catheter. As blood passes through the blood vessels lining the peritoneal cavity, waste products and excess fluid are drawn out of the blood and into the dialysis fluid. The used fluid is drained into a bag a few hours later and replaced with fresh fluid.

Further information can be found on the Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow website.

You can also learn more about the condition on the Scottish Paediatric Renal Urology Network website.