What is haemodialysis?

Haemodialysis is a process of cleansing the blood of the impurities with the help of artificial kidney.

How long is the procedure of haemodialysis?

Haemodialysis is usually done for four hours.

When is haemodialysis initiated?

Haemodialysis is initiated when the kidney function drops below 10-15%.

Does haemodialysis cure kidney failure?

No. Haemodialysis is only a substitute for the kidney function.

What are the requirements for haemodialysis to be started?

From the patient's side, a vascular access is required. Either a temporary or permanent vascular access is needed. Haemodialysis machine, dialyser (artificial kidney), pure water (about120-150 litres per haemodialysis session), dialysis concentrate solution, uninterrupted power supply are all required to start haemodialysis.

What exactly is done during haemodialysis?

During haemodialysis, patient's blood is withdrawn, purified with help of artificial kidney and then returned to the patient.

How long is haemodialysis required?

In patients with acute kidney failure (reversible), dialysis is performed till recovery of kidney function occurs which may take 1-3 weeks. In patients with end stage renal disease, dialysis needs to be performed lifelong/till patient undergoes Kidney Transplant.

What is vascular access?

For haemodialysis to be done, blood flow in the order of 250-300ml/min is required. This cannot be obtained from an ordinary blood vessel, and hence the need for a vascular access. Temporary accesses include jugular catheter (neck vein), & femoral catheter (thigh) Permanent accesses include AV fistula & AV graft. If the dialysis is started on an emergency basis, temporary access is inserted. If dialysis is planned well before, permanent accesses are placed sufficiently early in the patients. (atleast a month before the requirement of haemodialysis).

Are there any complications during haemodialysis?

Yes. There are some complications which can occur during haemodialysis. Most of them are mild like nausea, vomiting, temporary drop in blood pressure, back pain, headache.
Rarely serious complications like cardiac arrest can occur during haemodialysis.