In many cases, people living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) receive a kidney transplant at MUSC Health before dialysis is necessary. But for those people who have ESRD and need dialysis as they wait to receive a transplant, MUSC has exceptional dialysis facilities to provide this necessary treatment.

What Is Dialysis?

For people with chronic kidney disease, dialysis removes toxins, electrolytes, and extra water from their bloodstream. Without dialysis, these elements can build up to dangerous or even deadly levels in your body.

There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Both types help people with ESRD maintain their body’s natural equilibrium so they can lead productive lives.

How Does MUSC Health Help With Dialysis?

Kidney transplant is the best long-term option for effectively treating ESRD. But if you’re waiting to be matched with a kidney, the experienced staff at MUSC Health can help with your dialysis needs.


If your doctor recommends hemodialysis before your kidney transplant, our surgeons will create an entry point that allows your dialysis team to access your bloodstream. We typically place this entry point (either a fistula or a graft) in your arm. Once your fistula or graft is in place, your dialysis treatment team will use a dialysis machine to thoroughly clean your blood.

You have access to a dialysis unit at MUSC Medical Center in downtown Charleston, and there are also six satellite dialysis centers throughout Charleston and surrounding communities. You’ll visit an MUSC Health dialysis center three times each week for treatment.

Peritoneal Dialysis

Your doctor may recommend peritoneal dialysis as the best option for you. In this case, our doctors place a special tube called a catheter into your abdomen during a minor procedure.

This catheter allows a cleaning solution to enter your abdominal cavity, where it draws toxins and extra water out of your bloodstream. Many people complete this process every day in the comfort of their own homes.

Regardless of the type of dialysis that’s best for you, your MUSC Health nephrology team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.

Who Is Dialysis For?

Dialysis is only intended for people with ESRD who have lost up to 90% of their kidney function. In most cases, chronic kidney disease causes this reduced kidney function.

In addition to helping people in our community, we also offer convenient dialysis treatments to individuals visiting Charleston who are not existing patients at MUSC Health. Whether you’re here on vacation or business, we’re glad to offer the dialysis services you need.

Pediatric Dialysis

MUSC Medical Center is the only dialysis center in South Carolina providing dialysis to infants in the inpatient neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We also treat children and teenagers at our inpatient dialysis center and at one satellite office.

Our nephrology team, who are trained in both pediatric and kidney care, provides dialysis to children ages 18 and under in a special section of our center. This area features TVs, iPads, craft materials, and coloring books to make their dialysis treatment an enjoyable experience.