The kidneys are the body’s filter. It helps keep your blood clean and passes impurities out of your body through urinating. However, due to some health complications like high blood pressure and diabetes, your kidneys may start to deteriorate If left untreated or for more severe cases, a neurologist may recommend hemodialysis.
What is Hemodialysis?
Hemodialysis is the process of getting your blood to the dialyzer and getting it filtered before being returned to your body. Think of it as having kidneys but on the outside of your body. This typically happens when your kidney can only function up to 15%. For the blood to get to the dialyzer, a doctor will make what is known as hemodialysis access.
There are three ways by which blood can flow from your body to the machine – via an AV fistula, an AV graft, or a catheter. In the first one, an artery and a vein are joined, forming what is known as the arteriovenous fistula (AV). Of the three, this is considered to be the best long-term option.
To perform this process, experts use a special machine . This machine can filter your blood and helps the kidney maintain its function. It is made up of not just the needles that go through our blood vessels. It also has a thinner that ensures your blood will not coagulate while being cleaned and a pressure monitor. A blood warmer is also mounted to dialysis machines to make sure that the blood is kept at body temperature, thus preventing thermal shock when it is routed back to the body.
Maintaining the machine happens in two ways – cleansing and disinfecting it after every use and testing whether all parts are working correctly. There are a number of options that you can choose from as far as cleaning is concerned, depending on the kind of machine that you have – heat, chemical, and a combination of heat and descalent. The last one is typically used when blood has leaked through the dialysate effluent.
A Few Reminders
In hospitals, there’s usually a standard protocol to keep the dialysis machines clean. They have regular disinfection for each equipment. This is under strict implementation, especially for patients with other conditions like hepatitis. The good thing is most hospitals today have exclusive machines depending on the patient’s condition. They also keep 24 hours of disinfection to ensure each unit is safe to use.
Another thing you should have in check is the blood warmer. The blood warmer typically comes with a cartridge that takes care of the heating. Constant use of the machine can cause the cartridges to malfunction after some time. When this happens, you need to reach out to cartridge heaters suppliers and have the cartridge replaced.
There’s no need to worry about the other parts of the blood warmer as they typically come with a cleaning tool. At the same time, the exterior area of the blood warmer is easy to clean and maintain.
These are just some of the basic things you need to know about kidney disease and its treatment apparatus. Knowing how these things work will also help you understand what you need to adjust to your routine.