Dialysis machine

The kidneys help to remove waste products and fluid from the body. When a child is very sick, the kidneys can stop working properly. A dialysis machine can be used to do some of the work of the kidneys. There are 2 types of dialysis for children. The most common type used is “peritoneal dialysis”.

Peritoneal dialysis

This type of dialysis uses a membrane that covers the inside of the abdomen and covers the organs. The membrane is called the ‘peritoneum'. A line is placed into the abdomen and then extra fluid and toxins can be filtered out by the dialysis machine.

Some children who have had heart surgery will have peritoneal dialysis to help support their kidneys.


Haemodialysis works by filtering blood directly from blood vessels. There are 2 special lines usually used for haemodialysis in children.

Vas Cath
This is a special type of large line that is placed directly into a large vein in the neck or groin region. This can be inserted in PICU.

This type of large line is also placed into a large vein in the neck or groin region. It is tunneled into the skin near the vein to keep it in place. This means it can stay in longer than a Vas Cath. This needs to be inserted in the operating theatre by a surgeon.

Related topics

This topic was reviewed by a paediatric intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.

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