Kidney dialysis

Based in west London, our private dialysis clinic offers treatment to local patients and overseas visitors alike.

Reviewed by Dr Emma Salisbury, Consultant Nephrologist

At a glance

What is dialysis?

Dialysis is used to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood in patients whose kidneys don’t work properly – a condition known as end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) 

Healthy kidneys filter the blood and remove waste products by turning them into urine. When a patient has advanced kidney disease, this process does not occur and they are likely to become very ill. 

We offer two types of dialysis at Cromwell Hospital: haemodialysis and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD). We also offer holiday dialysis for patients visiting the UK. 

About our private dialysis clinic

When you have a kidney condition, dialysis can become a big part of your life. At Cromwell Hospital, we aim to deliver comfortable and convenient dialysis services tailored to our patients’ needs and lifestyles. 

In our private dialysis clinic, we have nine haemodialysis stations, using the latest Gambro haemodialysis machines – the Artis Physio system and the AK 98 dialysis machines. Each dialysis station is equipped with a reclining chair for your comfort, as well as TV and Wi-Fi to entertain you during your visit. We can also provide complimentary refreshments upon request.   

For your peace of mind, our clinic is supported by a 24-hour on-call consultant, with intensive care available for acute emergencies. 

Anyone is welcome to book a haemodialysis session at our clinic, including self-pay patients, insured patients and overseas visitors.  

Haemodialysis

Haemodialysis involves filtering and cleaning the blood through a dialysis machine.  

Patients are connected to the haemodialysis machine through two needles which are inserted into a fistula, usually in your arm. One needle takes your blood to the machine for cleaning and the other needle returns your cleaned blood.  

A fistula (arteriovenous fistula) is larger, stronger blood vessel in your arm that makes it easier to transfer your blood to and from the dialysis machine. A fistula is created by connecting an artery to a vein during a short surgical operation. Fistulas are usually created in the forearm. 

A fistula usually needs to be created around four to eight weeks before haemodialysis can begin. This is so that the vein has time to increase in size.  

Occasionally, patients may opt to undergo dialysis through a tunnelled ‘neck line’ instead of a fistula. These lines can be used immediately. 

Haemodialysis patients are restricted on how much fluid they can drink in between dialysis sessions. This is because the dialysis machine won’t be able to remove all the waste product if there’s too much fluid in the body.  

Haemodialysis patients also need to watch their food intake, so minerals like sodium, potassium and phosphorus don’t build up to dangerously high levels between dialysis sessions.  

Most patients require a dialysis session three times a week. Each session lasts for approximately four hours.

Haemodialysis patients may experience fatigue, nausea, dizziness, itchy skin and/or muscle cramps.

Some patients only need dialysis for a short time if they have temporary kidney failure.  

If your kidney failure is chronic (i.e. end-stage kidney disease), you will likely need dialysis permanently unless you have a kidney transplant. 

Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)

Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) is a form of mobile dialysis that can be administered at home. This treatment is machine-free but needs to be carried out more often than haemodialysis.  

Before you can have peritoneal dialysis, your consultant will need to create a small opening in your abdomen. A catheter will be fitted so that the dialysis solution (dialysate) can be transferred in and out of the abdomen cavity.  

Peritoneal dialysis is not suitable for everyone. Your consultant will let you know if it’s right for you. 

During peritoneal dialysis, the inside lining of your own stomach acts as a natural filter. Toxins are taken out using dialysate, which the patient transfers in and out of their stomach through a tube. 

Our dialysis team provides special training on how to carry out peritoneal dialysis at home. You must show you can perform each stage of the treatment properly before you can do this. 

Changing the solution normally takes around 30-40 minutes. Once that’s happened, you’re free to go about your day as normal. The dialysis solution needs to be changed three to five times a day.

Peritoneal dialysis patients may experience fatigue. They may also be at risk of developing peritonitis, an infection of the membrane that surrounds the abdomen.

Holiday dialysis

We offer holiday haemodialysis sessions for patients visiting the UK. We are ideally located in west London and easily accessible by all modes of transport.  

If you would like to book an appointment for holiday dialysis, please contact the International Patient Centre. For best availability, please contact us at least four weeks in advance. 

Before you can have dialysis at our clinic, the following documents and tests are required: 

  • A medical report from your doctor with a summary of your medical history 
  • Your haemodialysis prescription and flow sheets 
  • Your completed Bupa dialysis profile and consent forms 
  • Your latest blood test results for full blood count and biochemistry 
  • A blood test screening for HIV, hepatitis B and C 
  • An MRSA nasal swab on arrival and a multi-drug resistant screen 

Please note that all blood tests and swabs must be dated within four weeks of travelling. It is also compulsory for patients outside of the European Union to have their hepatitis and HIV status re-checked upon arrival at the dialysis unit.

You can have longer-term holiday dialysis at our clinic. Patients staying more than two weeks or having six or more dialysis sessions are required to book an appointment with a renal specialist so that they can review your dialysis treatment plan, latest blood results, medications and overall health. 

This is for patient safety, but also covers you in the unlikely event of a renal emergency while receiving dialysis at our clinic. This appointment will incur an additional fee. 

Why choose us for dialysis?

Paying for your treatment

We welcome both self-paying and insured patients.

Our locations

Book an appointment today

Our telephone lines are open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm Saturdays.

Please note - regrettably we are unable to answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice via email or telephone