Dialysis is a treatment that does some of the things done by healthy kidneys. It is needed when your own kidneys can no longer take care of your body’s needs.
Dialysis may be used for very sick patients who have suddenly but temporarily, lost their kidney function (acute renal failure) or for quite stable patients who have permanently lost their kidney function (stage 5 chronic kidney disease). When healthy, the kidneys maintain the body’s internal equilibrium of water and minerals (sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sulfate) and the kidneys remove from the blood the daily metabolic load of fixed hydrogen ions.
In hemodialysis, an artificial kidney (hemodialyzer) is used to remove waste and extra chemicals and fluid from your blood. To get your blood into the artificial kidney, the doctor needs to make an access (entrance) into your blood vessels. This is done by minor surgery to your arm or leg.
Hemodialysis Treatments Last
The time needed for your dialysis depends on:
- how well your kidneys work
- how much fluid weight you gain between treatments
- how much waste you have in your body
- how big you are
- the type of artificial kidney used