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Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis


Flower-Mound_July-2015_095.jpgHemodialysis uses a man-made membrane called a dialyzer to filter wastes and remove extra fluid from the blood.  T
he blood is circulated through the dialyzer and then re-routed back into the body via a catheter or permanent access port.

In-center hemodialysis

Hemodialysis is administered by a trained dialysis team. You are situated in a comfortable room with others undergoing the same treatment.

Home hemodialysis

Your dialysis center will train you and your family to dialyze yourself three to five times a week. You will learn how to place your own needles (self-cannulation). Because you can administer more frequent treatments at home, you may have a less restrictive diet.

 

Advantages of Hemodialysis

In-Center HD

  • Socializing with patients with a similar lifestyle
  • Less responsibility
  • Receive treatment in a health care setting
  • Separation of home and treatment

Home HD

  • In the privacy of your home
  • No transportation issues
  • Flexible schedule
  • Less fluid and dietary restrictions
  • No staff on-site
  • Less stress on the heart

Disadvantages of Hemodialysis

In-Center HD

  • Strict fluid and food compliance
  • Needles required
  • Clinic schedule
  • Some blood loss each treatment
  • Difficult to make long-term plans
  • Transportation

Home HD

  • Needles required
  • Storage for supplies
  • Need a partner
  • No staff on-site
  • Some blood loss each treatment
  • Monthly clinic visit

Frequently asked questions

How does the dialyzer clean my blood?

The dialyzer, or filter, has two parts: one for your blood and one for a washing fluid called dialysate. A thin membrane separates these two parts. Blood cells, protein and other important elements remain in your blood because they are too big to pass through the membrane. Smaller waste products in the blood, such as urea, creatinine, potassium and extra fluid, pass through the membrane and are washed away.

 

How long will each hemodialysis treatment last?

Hemodialysis treatments usually last about four hours and they are done three times a week.

Your doctor will give you a prescription that tells you how much treatment you need. Studies have shown that getting the right amount of dialysis improves your overall health, keeps you out of the hospital and enables you to live longer.

Your dialysis care team will monitor your treatment with monthly lab tests to ensure you are getting the right amount of dialysis. One of the measures your dialysis care team may use is the urea reduction ratio (URR). Another measure is the Kt/V (pronounced "kay tee over vee"). Ask your dialysis care team what measure they use and what your number is.

To ensure that you are getting enough dialysis your Kt/V should be at least 1.2 or your URR should be at least 65 percent.

 

Can I have hemodialysis at home?

Possibly. Many patients have their hemodialysis treatments at home.

 

Will I be uncomfortable on hemodialysis?

When you begin hemodialysis, the needles put in your fistula or graft may be uncomfortable. Most patients get used to this in time. Your dialysis care team will make sure you are as comfortable as possible during your treatment. Symptoms like cramps, headaches, nausea or dizziness are not common, but if you do have any of them, ask your dialysis care team if any of the following steps could help you:

  • Slow down your fluid removal, which could increase your dialysis time.
  • Cool the dialysate a little.
  • Increase the amount of sodium in your dialysate.
  • Check your high blood pressure medications.
  • Adjust your dry or target weight.
  • Use a special medication to help prevent low blood pressure during dialysis.

You can help yourself by following your diet and fluid allowances. The need to remove too much fluid during dialysis is one of the things that may make you feel uncomfortable during your treatment.

 

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