Haemodialysis – A Brief Explanation

Humans have two kidneys that perform varied functions that are essential in maintaining general wellbeing. The failure or inability of this twin organ to work sufficiently can be life-threatening. If the kidneys’ function decreases to 10-15% of normal function, a person is said to be in ‘Renal Failure’. The organs vital functions can be replaced by an appropriate treatment such as haemodialysis. Haemodialysis has become successful in treating patients with kidney failure since it became in the 1960s.

During haemodialysis the patient is connected to a dialysis machine either via a permanent catheter or by cannulation of an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) / graft. The machine consists of a blood pump and a dialyser / filter. The dialyser / filter consists of several membranes that each have tiny pores. The patients’ blood passes through the membranes and returned to the patient. The tiny pores in the dialyser / filter membranes allow for toxins and excess fluid to filter out of the blood whilst vital components are retained in the blood.

Haemodialysis is usually performed three times a week for 3-4 hours. Your doctor will plan your dialysis treatment in accordance to your individual needs. Your dialysis treatment plan can change overtime depending on your general health and blood results.