Healthy kidneys clean the blood and remove waste and extra fluid in the form of urine. Healthy kidneys also make substances that keep the body healthy. When the kidneys can no longer do the job, Dialysis is an alternative way to clean the blood. It removes wastes and extra fluids from the body, and helps to control blood pressure.
In Hemodialysis, the dialysis machine pumps blood out of the body and filters it through the dialyzer, a man-made filter known as “artificial kidney,” to remove wastes that the kidneys can no longer eliminate. The dialysis machine then pumps the filtered blood back into the body. In order to gain access to the blood for dialysis, an “access” is created. Usually, an AV Fistula or Graft is placed on the arm by a vascular surgeon after an evaluation for access placement. This treatment is usually done three times per week.
A soft plastic tube (catheter) is placed in the belly by a surgeon to deliver sterile cleansing fluid into the belly. After the filtering process is finished in the belly, the fluid now has wastes removed from the blood, is drained from the belly into a collecting bag to be disposed.
The process is usually administered 3 to 5 times in a 24-hour period while you do your daily tasks. Each fluid exchange takes about 30 to 40 minutes. Other patients prefer doing their exchanges during mealtime or bedtime.