What is Hemodialysis
Hemodialysis is a therapy that removes wastes, free water, and balances electorlytes in patients that have Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease. During hemodialysis, blood is removed from the body and filtered through an artificianl kidney called a dialyzer. A person has approximately 12 pints of blood , and only 1 pint or 2 cups is outside the body at one time during this process.
A blood access is required to perform hemodialysis. There are three types: a fistula, graft, and dialysis catheter. The fistula is the preferred method, but your doctor will help you decide which is best for you.
A nurse will assess you before each treatment. Your vitals will be taken, and they will decide how much fluid needs to be removed. Two needles are required for a fistula or graft. One takes the blood out and of the body, and the other needle puts it back. If a dilaysis catheter is present two tubes will be attached to it for the same purpose.
Blood does not go through the machine. Instead the machine is used as a pump and a computer. The pump moves the blood through the tubing and the artificial kidney. The computer part monitors your blood flow, blood pressure, heart rate, and how much fluid is being removed.
This therapy is required three times a week. The doctor writes a prescription for how long the patient will be on the machine. A normal dialysis treatment lasts from 3 to 4 hours. Recliners and individual TV's are at each dialysis machine to keep the patient comfortable and help pass the time. Nurses and technicians monitor the patient throughout the therapy.