How does hemodialysis work?
- If the access to your bloodstream is by a fistula or graft, one or two needles are inserted into it at the start of each hemodialysis session. Plastic tubes attached to these needles connect them to a special filter called a dialyzer or artificial kidney. If you have a vascular access catheter, tubes attached directly to this catheter connect it to the dialyzer.
- The blood leaves your body via one needle, and is pumped through the dialyzer. There is an artificial membrane in the dialyzer. It removes wastes and extra fluid.
- The clean blood is then returned to your body via another needle or port inserted into your fistula, or through a tube into your vascular access catheter.
- Both needles are removed at the end of the session.
Only a small amount of blood (about 200ml or less than 1 cup) is outside your body at any one time.
Hemodialysis usually needs to be performed three times a week. Each treatment takes 3 to 6 hours.
You may feel tired and weak after treatment.
May 1, 2006