When a patient’s kidney function has declined to less than 15 percent of what would be considered normal, this is called end-stage kidney failure and necessitates the initiation of dialysis treatment. This treatment ensures against the buildup of waste, salt and water within the body, helps maintain an appropriate level of potassium and other components in the blood, and allows the patient to maintain a safe blood pressure. Depending on each patient’s individual circumstances, dialysis can be performed in a hospital, at a specialized dialysis center, or even at home. The two types of dialysis are called hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis involves filtering waste from your blood via an external, artificial kidney called a hemodialyzer. Patients are hooked up to this machine three times per week for approximately four hours at a time, though some special, “high-flux” dialysis machines can speed up the process. In peritoneal dialysis, the patient’s blood is cleaned while still inside their body. This is done by positioning a catheter into the peritoneal cavity into which dialysate liquid is introduced. Over the course of 4-5 hours, the dialysate soaks up the waste material before being drained back out of the body. The exchange process can be performed manually (in ambulatory peritoneal dialysis) or via a cycler machine (in automated peritoneal dialysis).