Healthy kidneys filter out excess fluid and wastes. The kidneys also produce hormones that keep your bones strong, blood chemically balanced and stimulate your bone marrow to make red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen in your blood to your organs.
When end-stage renal failure occurs, treatment is necessary to replace the work of the kidneys. Dialysis is a life-saving option until a suitable organ donor is found, but it is not a cure for end-stage renal failure.
Cost of dialysis
The cost of dialysis is estimated at R79 000 to 80 000 per annum excluding medication.
How long can you be on dialysis?
A patient with end-stage renal failure can be on dialysis for as long as it takes to get a kidney transplant or for the rest of his or her life.
Types of dialysis
Written by Dr K. Coetzee, reviewed by Dr R. Moosa, head of the Renal Unit, Tygerberg Academic Hospital.