If your kidneys fail, dialysis takes over their job of removing waste and extra fluid from the blood.
A dialyzer, a machine like an artificial kidney, draws blood from your body, filters it, and then pumps it back into your veins.
At Ballad Health, you’ll get this treatment in a hospital from caring staff who help make the process as easy and comfortable as possible.
Preparing for Dialysis
If your kidney doctor says you need the most common type of dialysis – hemodialysis – you’ll get a small medical procedure before starting.
A surgeon will connect an artery and vein under your skin, usually in the arm. This creates a place called an access site for blood to flow from your body into the dialyzer.
A few weeks after the procedure, you’ll likely be ready for dialysis.
What Happens During Dialysis?
When you arrive for dialysis, a nurse or another health care provider will check your blood pressure, temperature, weight and heart rate.
Then, you’ll sit in a comfortable chair, and the provider will slide a small needle into your access site. Blood will flow through the needle into a tube that connects to the dialyzer.
You might experience nausea, headaches or cramps during the first few sessions. You’ll probably be tired after most treatments. Ask your care team or our palliative care providers for help feeling better.
How Long Does Dialysis Take?
Expect to visit the hospital about three times a week for dialysis.
Each session takes three or four hours, depending on:
- How well your kidneys work
- Your weight
- How much fluid needs to be removed
- The type of dialyzer
During dialysis, you can bring a book, laptop or music to listen on your own earphones. You also may rest or chat with others getting treatment.
Depending on your health and abilities, you might be able to receive dialysis at home after training. Ask your doctor if you qualify for this type of treatment.