Dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure that removes waste and extra fluid from the blood, using a filter. In hemodialysis (HD), the filter is a plastic tube filled with millions of hollow fibers, called a dialyzer.
The following is an edited reprint of information compiled and created by Fresenius Medical Care and which is posted on their website Ultracare-Dialysis.com.
Hemodialysis is most often done in a dialysis facility by a staff of nurses and trained technicians, who will care for you and a number of other patients at the same time. In-center hemodialysis can be done in two ways:
- Standard – during the day, three times a week for 3-5 hours each session
- Nocturnal – at night, for 8 hours while you sleep, usually three times a week
Nocturnal Hemodialysis is a slow, gentle treatment that is done at night, while you sleep – so your days are free for work or other activities. The facility provides the machine for you. It shortens the time between treatments and the longer treatments allow less waste and fluid to build up between sessions. Nocturnal hemodialysis is easier on the heart than standard treatments, and often allows a more normal diet and fewer fluid limits and medications. Most people do nocturnal hemodialysis every other day, for 8 hours.
Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis are treatments that help replace the work your kidneys did. These treatments help you feel better and live longer, but they don’t cure kidney failure. Complications like heart disease, bone disease, arthritis, nerve damage, infertility, and malnutrition can occur. These problems won’t go away with dialysis, but doctors now have new and better ways to prevent or treat them. You should discuss these complications and their treatments with your health care team.