Kidney dialysis is a process that is performed to clean the blood when the kidneys have failed. Dialysis (the word means 'through' or 'across') can be performed in two different ways. The procedure, which may last up to four hours, occurs three times a week and takes place while you are asleep so that you are resting comfortably. Because of the complicated nature of kidney dialysis, you need to know about the various types of dialysis you may need and how a hemodialysis procedure works.
Your kidneys are located just below your rib cage on either side of your spine. You have one kidney on the right side and one on the left. Your kidneys filter out waste and toxins from your blood by their action or through an artificial means called hemodialysis. The waste they remove is also part of what turns into urine.
Dialysis is usually used when the kidneys have failed only mildly or partially. Hemodialysis is much more common and can be done in different ways. It can also be done using an artificial kidney machine (a dialyzer).
Diseases that cause kidney failure include diabetes, hepatitis, glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys' filtering units), and injuries such as strokes, certain cancers, and other infections and disorders.
Dialysis is done through an artificial kidney machine (a dialyzer). The dialysis takes place in a four-hour cycle. In this process, your blood travels through a large plastic device called an artificial kidney. The blood flows back into your body and is cleaned as it passes through the artificial kidney. By continually filtering your blood over four hours, the machines remove waste products and toxins accumulated in the blood. Since they can clean 70-90% of the plasma volume with each pass, you should have no trouble losing weight while on dialysis because you receive lots of calories without having to eat so much.
Before you begin, your blood must have special chemicals like glucose, and calcium. The dialyzer is an artificial kidney that removes wastes and chemicals from your blood in dialysis. The blood flows through the dialyzer as it is pumped in a cycle through the dialyzer by a machine. Before the blood goes into the machine, excess water and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are removed from the blood. Your body has a natural mechanism that keeps you from losing too much water when it turns to urine, so you will not become dehydrated with either method of kidney treatment. Dialysis is used for some kidney problems and is a treatment that must be done in the hospital. Dialysis treatment takes place at home, in the dialysis unit in the hospital, or dialysis center.
The dialyzer may be large and appear like a vast blue-colored refrigerator. It looks like a large, white plastic bag filled with water that hangs from a frame and has hundreds of tiny holes cut into it so blood can flow through it. The machine also has tubing to connect it to an artificial kidney or blood and fluid pump (AJ).
There are many types of kidney dialysis, and the dialysis procedure varies. You may need to be on dialysis for a few days at a time, or it may be longer. The length of time will depend on how sick you are and how well you respond to treatment. For example, hemodialysis usually lasts four hours a session, three times a week. Some patients have sessions lasting six hours; these may be done more frequently than three times per week.
The type of renal failure you have determines how often and for how long your dialysis treatment will take. In general, the following situations require dialysis:
There are several different types of renal failure. The most common treatment for kidney failure is hemodialysis. Hemodialysis takes place in a hospital or dialysis unit and usually is done three times per week for four hours at a time. Both forms of dialysis can be very effective in restoring the patient's health and quality of life. However, it will take much longer to recover than with other treatments. Some patients may need to be on dialysis for several months or years before they feel well enough to resume their normal life activities, if ever.