Dialysis: All You Need to Know

Tanisha Y. Winslow, CPhT
Pharmacy Technician/ Central Supply Manager
Southern Hills Health and Rehab

Dialysis: All you need to know

People with failed or damaged kidneys may have difficulty eliminating waste and unwanted water from the blood. Dialysis is an artificial way of carrying out this process. Dialysis substitutes the natural work of the kidneys, so it is also known as renal replacement therapy (RRT).

Healthy kidneys regulate the body’s levels of water and minerals and remove waste.

The kidneys also secrete certain products that are important in metabolism, but dialysis cannot do this.

A person who has lost 85 to 90 percent of their kidney function will be a likely candidate for dialysis. Around 14 percent of the population of the United States are thought to have chronic kidney disease (CKD).

What is dialysis?

Dialysis can carry out the function of the kidneys if the kidneys no longer work effectively.

A healthy person’s kidneys filter around 120 to 150 quarts of blood each day. If the kidneys are not working correctly, waste builds up in the blood. Eventually, this can lead to coma and death.

The cause might be a chronic, or long-term condition, or an acute problem, such as an injury or a short-term illness that affects the kidneys.

Dialysis prevents the waste products in the blood from reaching hazardous levels. It can also remove toxins or drugs from the blood in an emergency setting.

Types of dialysis

There are different types of dialysis

  • Intermittent hemodialysis (IHD)
  • Peritoneal dialysis (PD)
  • Continuous renal replacement therapies (CRRT)

HemodialysisHere at Southern Hills, we are now offering Hemodialysis sponsored by Dialyze Direct. The kidneys are crucial for eliminating waste, and other functions. In hemodialysis, the blood circulates outside the body. It goes through a machine with special filters. The blood comes out of the patient through a flexible tube known as a catheter. The tube is inserted into the vein. Like the kidneys, the filters remove the waste products from the blood. The filtered blood then returns to the patient through another catheter. The system works like an artificial kidney. Those who are going to have hemodialysis need surgery to enlarge a blood vessel, usually in the arm. Enlarging the vein makes it possible to insert the catheters. Hemodialysis is usually done three times a week, for 3 to 4 hours a day, depending on how well the kidneys work, and how much fluid weight they have gained between treatments.

Working with Dialyze Direct we offer hemodialysis in which the patient does shorter treatments, about 2.5 hours, 5 times per week at the facility. The typical recovery time for this type of treatment is about 1/2 hour, which is a significantly less time than the 8-9 hours of typical recovery time.

Many patients report – and various studies have confirmed – that compared to three-times-weekly in-center hemodialysis, frequent home hemodialysis may offer the following health and quality of life benefits:

  • Lower risk of death
  • Less stress on the heart
  • Better blood pressure control with fewer medications
  • Much quicker recovery time after treatment, typically half hour compared to up to 8-9 hours in traditional dialysis
  • Improved appetite and the ability to drink more
  • Fewer depressive symptoms
  • Better mental and physical health
  • More energy and vitality
  • Feeling of being in control of treatment and life
  • Ability to travel

So stop on in to Southern Hills Skilled Nursing and Rehab and see our brand new dialysis center!