Dialysis is the treatment for patients with end-stage kidney failure when their kidneys are performing at only 10 to 15 percent of their normal function. Through this treatment, the patients’ blood is filtered externally to keep a balanced level of electrolytes and fluid.
What is hemodialysis?
Hemodialysis is the most common type of dialysis, where the blood is purified through an artificial kidney or hemodialyzer. Once a patient opts for hemodialysis, they will have to undergo minor surgery to create an access point, or vascular access, into their blood vessels.
Based on the patient’s condition and preference, the doctor will make the access point in one of the below sites,
- Arteriovenous (AV) fistula: Most common type of access made by joining an artery and vein in the arm.
- AV graft: If your blood vessels aren’t suitable for AV fistula, a soft tube is used to join the artery and vein in the arm.
- Vascular access catheter: A catheter is inserted in a large vein, usually the neck for access.
How does hemodialysis work?
During Hemodialysis, blood is pumped through soft tubes to a dialysis machine, where it goes through a filter called dialyzer. The dialyzer is designed in a way that its internal environment closely resembles the kidneys, to remove toxins and other unwanted substances from the blood. Hence, it is divided into two sections: one for the dialysate and the other for the blood. These two sections are separated by a semi-permeable membrane that only allows the waste to pass through & prevents the red blood cells to leak: just like our kidneys.
Hemodialysis treatment lasts three to five hours and is usually performed three times per week. Depending on the patient’s condition, the treatment can also be done in shorter and more frequent sessions.
What are its benefits?
Hemodialysis usually requires only 1 surgery for vascular access. This access is frequently checked to make sure it isn’t infected & is working well. The dialysis team also guides the patient on how to take care of the access at home, to keep the fistula or graft working longer.
During the session, the dialysis monitor shows detailed information which helps the physician monitor every aspect of the session. From the pump speed, blood pressure, and dialysate temperature: everything is constantly checked to ensure a safe and effective dialysis session.
Also, patients undergoing hemodialysis for a long time can opt for home dialysis sessions under the supervision of their dialysis care team and doctor.
If you wish to learn more about hemodialysis, please contact us & our medical team will be happy to guide you.
Pyramids Dialysis Center (PDC) is the first stand-alone dialysis center and renal-care facility in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi. Our facility offers in-center, home & holiday dialysis. For more tips and updates, follow us on Facebook @pdckidneycare & Instagram @pdckidneycare.