Dialysis is a mechanical process that partly does the work
that healthy kidneys would do. Hemodialysis uses a man-made membrane (dialyzer)
to filter wastes, remove extra fluid from the blood, restore the proper balance
of chemicals in the blood, and eliminate extra fluid (edema) from the
Before hemodialysis treatments can begin, a doctor will need
to create an access where blood can flow in and out of the body (dialysis
access). This is
usually done by joining an artery and a vein in the forearm or by using a small
tube to connect an artery and a vein.
Hemodialysis is usually done in a hospital or
dialysis center on a set schedule. It is usually done 3 days a week and takes 3
to 5 hours a day. In some cases, hemodialysis can be done at home. Home
hemodialysis can be done on more days of the week. Some types of home
hemodialysis are done during the night.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
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