Hemodialysis

In hemodialysis, a machine removes blood from the body and filters it through a man-made membrane called a dialyzer, or artificial kidney, to clean out toxins that your kidneys can no longer remove. The filtered blood is then returned to the body. Only a small amount of blood (less than two cups) is outside of the body at any time. To perform hemodialysis there needs to be an access point created to get the blood from the body to the dialyzer and back to the body. Typically, an arteriovenous (AV) fistula or an AV graft will be surgically created, usually in your non-dominant forearm, to act as the access point for dialysis. Your doctor will determine the right type of access for you.


 

Hemodialysis is an effective treatment when you have end stage renal disease (ESRD). However, HD is only one component of your comprehensive treatment plan, and you will need to make some adjustments to your everyday life. Be sure to follow your prescribed diet and fluid restrictions as well as your prescriptions, such as regulating blood pressure and stimulating production of red blood cells to prevent anemia.

With this treatment, you schedule three four-hour treatments per week at a kidney dialysis center that’s fully staffed by a personalized care team. Some people prefer to go to a dialysis center for treatment because:

  • Treatment is administered by trained kidney care professionals.
  • They enjoy social interactions with fellow dialysis patients and staff.
  • Dialysis is only three times a week, leaving four free days.

Dialysis treatments have their advantages and disadvantages. Based on your lifestyle and medical needs, you and your doctor can discuss your options and decide which treatment options are right for you.



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