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Guide to a Healthier You

Choosing Home Dialysis

Clean Hands Count

Telemedicine Guide

The Kidney Hub


Newly Diagnosed

Treatment Choices

Access Planning and Care

Staying Healthy

Being Involved In Your Care

Traveling on Dialysis

Medicare Information

Transplant 101 Series

The ESRD Networks work with kidney patients, dialysis, and transplant centers to improve the quality of care to assist your patients in getting right care at the right time. There are 18 ESRD Networks that are responsible for each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia—see the Overview. One of the main duties of the Networks is to help the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) understand the needs of dialysis patients. Find your ESRD Network by clicking on your state on this map.

Here are several organizations with which the ESRD Networks regularly collaborate:

Health Literacy Dictionary

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others. This dictionary is intended to provide simple definitions of key terms and is focused on terms related to patient care for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The dictionary is arranged in alphabetical order. 

Access for Dialysis: A means to get into the body. There are three types of accesses to the bloodstream for dialysis: a fistula, a graft, or a catheter.

Adequacy: A term that tells you how well dialysis is working. The adequacy test tells you if enough waste products and fluid are removed from your body.

Central Venous Catheter (CVC): A small tube placed in your chest for hemodialysis.

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD): A form of dialysis in which your stomach is filled with a special fluid (dialysate) and then removed through the tube. This is called an exchange. The fluid removed is called waste. To get rid of the waste, you need to do an exchange every four to six hours while you are awake.

Continuous Cycler Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD): A form of dialysis that uses a cycler machine to fill your stomach with fluid and drain the waste during the night while you sleep.

Deceased Donor: A deceased donor is a person who has died and agreed to donate their kidneys to another person).

Dialyzer: This is a filter that removes body waste and extra water from the blood like a normal kidney.

Filter: Another name for the dialyzer. The filter (dialyzer) removes body waste and extra water from the blood like a normal kidney.

Fistula: A surgeon will join an artery and a vein together. This will make your access strong enough for dialysis. 

Graft: A surgeon will connect a small plastic tube to an artery and a vein. This will make your access strong enough for dialysis.

Kidney Transplant: A kidney is removed from one person (donor) and given to another person (recipient). The transplanted kidney can come from a deceased donor or a living donor.

Living Donor: A person who donates a kidney to another person.


Nephrologist: A doctor who specializes in kidney care. 

Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter (PD Catheter): A special tube that is placed in your stomach for fluid exchanges during dialysis.

Recipient: A person who receives an organ from another person.

Urea: Urea is the waste product from food that builds up in your blood when your kidneys stop working.

Urine: The liquid waste products and extra water that is removed by the kidneys.