How does Hemodialysis work ?

In Hemodialysis a dialysis machine and a special filter called an artificial kidney, or a dialyzer is used to clean blood.

To take out the blood for purification it needs an access to the big blood vessels .

What is Hemodialysis access ?

The blood vessels which are present in around neck leg are appropriate this access is used on temporary basis for permanent access to get the adequate blood flow out during dialysis, Artenio-Venous Fistula (AVFistula) is created surgically in upper limb. The patients who have poorly developed blood vessels, Arterio- venous graft is used.

A. Catheters

1. Internal Jugular Venous Catheters

2. Subclavian Catheters

3. Fermoral vein cathetes.

B. Arterio venous Fistula (AVFistula)

It is created by joining the artery and vein in the arm Depending on the site chosen it can be

1. Brachio-Cephalic
2. Radio cephalic
3. Femoral
4. Axillary- Brachial

It takes around 4-6 weeks to use this AVF

C. Arterio Venous graft (AV graft)

When available vessels are poorly developed, a soft tube is placed in between artery and vein in the arm. It can be used immediately.

How does the Hemodialysis clean the blood.

From the available access the blood is withdrawn at particular rate and it flows through the artificial kidney or dialyses.

The Dialyses has two parts one part has the blood flowing through it and the other part has a special fluid (called Dialysate). There is thin membrane separating these two parts. Blood cells, proteins and other important components are not passed through this membrane, only extra waste products, toxins and fluid washed away through this membrane.

After cleaning the purified blood is returned back to the patient through the other port of the access.

What is the duration and frequency of Hemodialysis?

Hemodialysis is usually done over four hours and three times per week. But this duration can vary as per patients clinical conditions.

What are complications of Hemodialysis ?

1. Fluctuation in blood pressure
2. Headache
3. Nausea
4. Vomiting
5. Leg cramps
6. Drop in blood sugar level
7. Chest tightness
8. Allergic reaction to dialyses membrane
9. Heart attack
10. Bleeding from access site
11. Giddiness

The complications can be minimized by taking adequate precautions