What is Kidney Dialysis?

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The kidney is an organ in animal and human bodies that provides several regulatory functions. The main role of the kidney is to remove waste from the blood, which is then directed into the urinary system for disposal. When a person has kidney damage or failure, they may require kidney dialysis. Since the kidney can no longer remove the waste from the blood itself, kidney dialysis handles this process manually with the use of medical equipment.

How Does Kidney Dialysis Work?

A kidney dialysis machine is responsible for removing waste (diffusion) and excess water (ultrafiltration) from the blood. Because the kidney can no longer do this, a machine is used to filter the blood. A catheter is connected to the patient via a major vein, usually in the arm. The blood flows out of the patient, into the machine, and back into the patient in a different catheter. While the blood is in the dialysis machine, it is filtered so the waste and toxins do not accumulate in the patient’s body. It is estimated that the human kidney filters about 1,500 liters of blood every day. Without the kidney, the waste produced by the body would accumulate and result in death. Kidney dialysis is a life saving technology and requires the professional operation by a trained and certified dialysis technician.

How Often Do Patients Need Dialysis?

Every patient is different. The frequency a patient needs kidney dialysis is mainly determined by the health of the existing kidney. The more healthy the kidney, the less kidney dialysis is needed. The amount of fluid the patient acquired between dialysis treatments also directly affects how often treatment is required. The average frequency of kidney dialysis is 3-4 hours per week.

The Role of a Dialysis Technician

The kidney dialysis machine may seem simple, but it requires the proper knowledge to operate and maintain. Each body is different and requires that the dialysis machine filters the blood according to the needs of each patient. It is the responsibility of a trained dialysis technician to understand the patient’s needs and prepare the equipment properly. The dialysis technician is also responsible for monitoring the patient, before, during, and after dialysis to ensure no complications arise. This entails monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, etc.