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In advanced stages of kidney failure when the organ is no longer able to filter waste materials, toxins and fluids from the blood, kidney function can be maintained artificially through hemodialysis. The treatment can be done in a health care unit or at home, but in both cases it requires patience and a strong sense of responsibility from the patient. The filtering capacity of the kidney is measured by the glomerular filtration rate, which is always a reference point in starting the hemodialysis procedure.

When Is Hemodialysis Recommended?

Kidney failure (uremia) due to:

  • Cysts
  • Inflammation
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Medication
  • Kidney cancer

Hemodialysis is unevitable when kidney failure symptoms such as high blood pressure, water retention, electrolyte and mineral imbalance may become life threatening.

The Hemodialysis Procedure

The first step in the procedure is to surgically create a connection between an artery and a vein. The surgical procedure is ideally done well before the hemodialysis to leave time for the incision to heal.

Either you recieve hemodialysis at home or in a dialysis center, the treatment will take between 3-5 hours. During this time the patient sits still while their blood is drawn, circulated and filtered through a machine. and then reenters the body. A filtering fluid captures all the waste materials and excess fluids from the blood stream. As a lot of fluid leaves your body during the hemodialysis procedure, your blood pressure and heart rate are constantly monitored.

Closing the treatment the tubes and needles are removed and you can go back to your normal daily activities.

Hemodialysis must be complemented with regular control blood count and urea reduction tests to measure the efficiency of your hemodilysis. You will be instructed to follow a specialised diet to limit the intake of fluids and certain nutrients such as protein, potassium and sodium.

Some Risks of Hemodilaysis

  • Blood clots formed in the dialysis fistula and graft
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting
  • Arrhythmia
  • Infection