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What Is Hemodialysis and How Does It Work?

3 Views· 01/05/24
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What is hemodialysis and how does it work? Who needs it? How do you prepare for it? In the United States, over 30 million Americans have kidney disease, and sometimes, kidney disease progresses to kidney failure or end-stage renal disease. When this happens, you cannot survive unless you have a kidney transplant or some form of dialysis. So today we're going to talk about hemodialysis.

Your kidneys are the two kidney bean-shaped organs that are located in your lower back, or in your flanks. And the kidneys are responsible for filtering out or cleaning your blood. They get rid of excess waste, excess toxins, and excess fluids. If your kidneys stop functioning, then you develop renal failure or end-stage renal disease.

What is Hemodialysis?
Hemodialysis, or blood dialysis, is the filtering of your blood outside of your body. So, if your kidneys stop working properly, the hemodialysis acts as a substitute kidney. Now it's important to note that hemodialysis does not actually correct your own kidney function. It does not fix or treat your kidneys.

#hemodialysis #drfrita

What is The Dialyzer?
The dialyzer is actually the filter. It's the main powerhouse of the hemodialysis system, and it is what actually acts as the substitute kidney. In the dialyzer, you have these hollow fibers that run through it, and these fibers are bathed in something called dialysates, or dialysis fluid.

How Often Are Patients Treated With Hemodialysis?
Most patients who are on hemodialysis are on it between three and six hours, about three days a week, especially if they go to a center.

How Does Hemodialysis Work?
So when you are on dialysis, how does your blood get from your body to the hemodialysis machine and then back to your body? Well, it does so through tubes, and those tubes are connected to your access, and we'll talk about access in just a moment. But as far as the tubing, the tubing is connected to your body.

Types Of Hemodialysis Access
Arteriovenous Fistula or AV Fistula
The AV fistula is the gold standard as far as hemodialysis access is concerned because it gives you the most efficient hemodialysis and it is the least likely to be infected.

Arteriovenous Graft or AV Graft
The AV graft is very similar to the AV fistula in that you still have a surgically connected artery and a vein, usually in the arm, but in the case where if you have veins that are rather thin or arteries that are thin and maybe too weak in order to really give you a properly functioning, substantial AV fistula, then the vascular surgeon may opt to add an artificial material in order to make that shunt a little stronger, or little more durable. And so, an AV graft is another option for dialysis access.

If you're in a situation where you need temporary dialysis, or if you have acute kidney injury, then you may have a temporary Vascath placed, and it's usually placed in a vein of the neck, the internal jugular vein, or it can be placed in the groin, or in the femoral vein.

Who Needs Hemodialysis Treatment?
How do you know if you need hemodialysis, and when is it time to prepare? Well, if you follow up with your kidney doctor (nephrologist) regularly, he or she will be watching your labs. They'll be able to see those signs of your kidneys not functioning properly.

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