Hemodialysis [HEE-moh-dahy-al-uh-sis]) is a treatment for kidney failure. It uses a machine that filters and cleans the blood outside of the body.
This treatment requires a minor surgery weeks before your treatments begin to adapt a blood vessel in the arm or neck for dialysis.
A hemodialysis machine uses a man-made membrane, called a dialyzer [die-UH-lies-er] to remove extra fluid and waste from the blood.
Hemodialysis is usually used to treat children and adults that have kidney failure. The kidneys help remove waste from the body. When the kidneys stop working, or don’t work as well, waste can sometimes build up in the body. When waste builds up in the body, it can make a person very sick, and even lead to death if it goes for too long without treatment.
Hemodialysis acts like the kidneys and helps clean the blood by removing waste. It can also help get rid of any extra fluid in the blood.
Side effects of hemodialysis may include:
- Anemia [uh-NEE-me-uh], which is where your child doesn’t have enough red blood cells
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty sleeping
- High blood potassium
- Itchy or dry skin
- Inflammation, especially in the membrane around the heart
- Muscle soreness
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Faintness or dizziness
- Lack of appetite
- Feeling washed out or drained
- Numbness in hands or feet
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Problems with the access site
Your care team will help you manage any side effects your child might experience.
Hemodialysis acts like the kidneys and will help clean the blood by removing waste. It can also help get rid of any extra fluid in the blood.
Hemodialysis uses a machine that acts like your child’s kidney called a dialyzer, which is also known as an artificial kidney. Your doctor performs an additional procedure before your child’s dialysis to set up access to your child’s blood. This is usually done in your child’s arm or neck.
The machine will remove your child’s blood from their body very slowly. At any one time, your child will have very little blood outside of their body. While the blood is out of the body, the machine will clean it much like the kidneys would do if they were working right. The clean blood is then put back into your child’s body. Each dialysis treatment can take up to 4 hours, and will need to be done about 3 times a week. Your child’s doctor will work with you to set up the best schedule for your child’s health.