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In-Center Hemodialysis

3x aWeek Dialysis
Treatment for hemodialysis takes place in a hemodialysis unit.

This is a special building that is equipped with machines that perform the dialysis treatment. Special equipment adds the proper materials to purified water for the dialysis machines. The dialysis unit is also the place where patients can receive dietary counseling and help with social needs.

Patients generally go to the dialysis unit three times a week for treatment. For example, the schedule is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Before treatment, patients weigh themselves so that excess fluid accumulated since the last dialysis session can be measured. Patients then go to assigned chairs that are like lounge chairs.

The area of the graft or fistula (the connection between the artery and vein), is cleaned thoroughly. Two needles are then inserted into the graft or fistula. One takes the blood to the machine where it is cleaned. The other needle allows blood that is returning to the patient to go back into the patient’s body.

Treatments last from four to five hours. During this time, the dialysis staff checks the patient’s blood pressure frequently and adjusts the dialysis machine to ensure that the proper amount of fluid is being removed. Patients can read, watch television, sleep, or do other work during treatment.

A vascular access is required for hemodialysis, so that blood can be moved though the dialysis filter at rapid speeds to allow clearing of the waste, toxins, and excess fluid. There are three different types of vascular accesses: arteriovenous fistula (AVF), arteriovenous graft, and central venous catheters.

FistulaArteriovenous Fistula (AVF): The preferred access for hemodialysis is an AVF, wherein an artery is directly joined to a vein. The vein takes two to four months to enlarge and mature before it can be used for dialysis. Once matured, two needles are placed into the vein for dialysis.

One needle is used to draw blood and run through the dialysis machine. The second needle is to return the cleansed blood. AVFs are less likely to get infected or develop clots than any other type of dialysis access.

Arteriosclerosis-graft-150x150Arteriosclerosis Graft: An arteriosclerosis graft is placed in those who have small veins or in whom a fistula has failed to develop. The graft is made of artificial material and the dialysis needles are inserted into the graft directly.


Central_venous_cath_PI1-150x150Central Venous Catheter: A catheter may be either temporary or permanent.

These catheters are either placed in the neck or the groin into a large blood vessel. While these catheters provide an immediate access for dialysis, they are prone to infection and may also cause blood vessels to clot or narrow.

In-Center Hemodialysis Nocturnal 3x a Week Dialysis

This type of dialysis is a very effective form of renal replacement therapy.It has the same principle as the type of dialysis described above. The main difference is that dialysis is performed at night for about seven hours, three times a week. Research have shown patients do very well overall.Fluids, potassium, and phosphates are better controlled, and patients require less medications for blood pressure and anemia. Patients go to sleep while getting their dialysis.

At Renal Medicine Associates, we offer this modality at the Gibson Unit.We have pioneered this modality in the state of New Mexico.