What is Hemodialysis And Why It’s Needed?

The kidneys help in the the all-important role of removing waste and extra fluid from the body. However, this ability is hampered when one is facing a chronic kidney disease or an acute kidney injury. In cases of acute renal failure, the kidneys are unable to function properly thus leave the body to deal with wastes. This is where hemodialysis helps as it’s an artificial way to get this waste out of the body.

In hemodialysis process, doctors use a man-made device, called a dialyzer or membrane to perform the removal of the waste from the blood. It is used to take out extra fluid in the body. ADitionally, this very process helps in restoration of the right balance of electrolytes in the blood. The process of hemodialysis is complex in nature and it can either by done at hospitals or at home as well.

What are the different types of hemodialysis?

In hemodialysis, patients are connected to a filter by tubes attached to the blood vessels. The blood is then pumped into the dialyzer so that the removal of waste and extra fluids can take place. Once the blood is filtered, it is then pumped back into the body to help in the normal functioning.

Hemodialysis are basically of four different types;

  1. In-center hemodialysis

This type of hemodialysis is done at a specialized hospital or dialysis center only. In takes 3-5 hours a day and generally done thrice a week under the observation of a specialist.

  1. Home hemodialysis

As the name suggests, this kind of hemodialysis is done at home and you are required to be trained for that. You learn how to use a hemodialysis kit and do the process either thrice a week or every other day, depending on the requirement. Before doing it at home, consult your doctor and determine the duration of the session.

  1. Daily home hemodialysis

This type of hemodialysis is mostly done for all days in a week, or at least 5 days. And sessions last about 3 hours and you do this using a kit, but not before prior training.

  1. Nocturnal home hemodialysis

This kind of hemodialysis is done overnight and take 6-8 hours to complete. It’s done only after proper training.

When hemodialysis is done?

Hemodialysis becomes important when the kidneys stop functioning properly. This is when waste and fluid start to swell in the body and needs proper and timely removal. You thus consult a doctor and he/she starts the treatment or process.

Hemodialysis is done when –

  • Signs and symptoms of kidney failure are visible

  • Common signs of kidney failure include nausea, vomiting, fatigue and swelling

  • The doctor measures the level of kidney function using glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)

  • When to start the treatment or hemodialysis will depend on the measure of the kidney function

  • The process is started well before the kidneys reach to the stage of causing life-threatening complications

  • Dialysis is not the only treatment option for dealing with kidney failure

  • Some people also choose maximal medical therapy instead of dialysis as a treatment course

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