What is hemodialysis?
Hemodialysis or commonly referred to as dialysis is used to eliminate waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working correctly. The process frequently entails redirecting blood to a machine for cleaning.
Normally, the kidneys filter the blood, eliminating hazardous waste materials and excess fluid and converting them to urine, which is then excreted from the body.
If your kidneys aren't performing correctly, such as if you have a severe chronic renal disease (kidney failure), your kidneys may be unable to clear your blood effectively.
Due to the decreased ability or complete inability of the kidneys to filter, waste materials and fluids can accumulate to harmful proportions. If left untreated, this can lead to a variety of dangerous symptoms and, in the worst-case scenario, even death.
There are two main types of dialysis, namely:
- Peritoneal dialysis
Why is hemodialysis required?
As mentioned above, dialysis is typically recommended due to the kidneys’ inability to filter blood. This is primarily caused due to kidney failure, which can occur due to the following reasons:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Kidney cysts
- Inherited kidney diseases
- Side-effects of medicines
How is hemodialysis performed?
Generally, patients require three haemodialysis treatments each week, with each session lasting around four hours. This can be done either in the hospital or at home.
Two tiny needles will be placed and taped into your AV fistula. One needle will extract blood and transport it to a dialyser, often known as a dialysis machine.
The dialysis machine is composed of a series of membranes that serve as filters and a specific liquid known as dialysate.
Waste items from your blood are filtered by the machine’s membranes and transferred into the dialysate fluid.
The dialysate fluid is pushed out of the dialyser, and the filtered blood is reintroduced into your body through the second needle.
You will sit or lie on a couch, recliner, or bed throughout your dialysis treatments. You will be able to read, listen to music, use your phone, and sleep.