Blood cleansing with dialysis

If the kidneys completely fail to clean our blood and help us getting rid of the fluid that we drink, many things will happen. We will become sick, as the waste prodicts in the blood are not removed and lose our appetite. With time people will feel drowsy and some subtances, like potassium will reach dangerous levels and influence the rhytm of the heart. In the past, people died, often peacefully, after a brief period of coma because of the intoxication of the blood. What also can happen is, that because of the lack of urineproduction, our body becomes overfilled with fluid. In the first instance this will lead to swelling of the legs, but with time, also our lungs will have too much fluid in them and the change to take in oxygen reduces. People become severely short of breath.

For some the end of renal function is also the end of life, as nobody will be forced to undergo treatment. But we have since around 1940 treatment available to clean the blood. This treatment is very intense and demands a lot from our body, but also from our determination to stay alive. In the beginning it was only used for patients who would get a kidney transplant, but now this so-called 'dialysis' treatment is available for everybody who requires it and who desires to have this.

There are two very different methods to dialyse. the choice is made with the renal team and will very much depend on personal choice, certain aspects of the body, the health of other organs etc. The team will go with the patient through all the details and decide for a certain method. It is always possible to change to the other dialysis if in hidsight that would be better.

Haemodialysis

Haemodialysis is the method where the blood is cleaned by a filter that is attached to a machine. This is the method most people know from TV and media. In the arm an artery is connected to a vein, and thus the vein gets some of the arterial blood, that pumps under high pressure. This creates a nice channel on the arm, that is required to put two needles in: one to remove the blood and at the same time the clean blood is given back on the other needle.

 

Peritoneal Dialysis