Dialysis Machine

A dialysis machine is often used when the kidneys fail to work properly. The kidneys can be thought of as organic machines which remove waste products, including urea and excess water from the blood through a process of filtration.

The filtered waste and excess water are then converted into urine and ultimately pass out of the body through urination.

Essentially, the kidneys are waste removal organs and when they stop functioning in a proper way, toxic metabolic wastes build up. Many circumstances can cause impaired renal function, including acute or chronic disease and trauma. Severe problems of health can arise when kidney function is lost. Severe cases of renal failure can cause death unless renal replacement therapy is utilized to sustain life. The two options are a kidney transplant or a process by which the blood is artificially cleansed, mimicking some of the lost kidney function. The latter, called dialysis, is usually performed by a dialysis machine.

Dialysis is a medical therapy which can take two major forms: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

A hemodialysis machine removes blood from the patient's body through a set of tubes and then uses a semi-porous, membrane filter enclosed within a canister (called a dialyzer) to act as an artificial kidney and cleanse the blood of wastes along with excess salts and water. A sterile solution consisting of water, sugars and other substances is inside the dialyzer, surrounding the membrane filter. Several important blood components, including red and white blood cells, are too large to pass through the membrane's pores and are not filtered out of the blood, but salts, urea and other wastes flow through the membranes into the sterile solution and are ultimately removed from the machine.

Hemodialysis is typically done around 2 or 3 times per week at a dialysis center or clinic. Each in-clinic treatment usually takes approximately three to four hours.

Dialysis machine used in kidney failure

Home hemodialysis is an alternative to in-clinic treatment and is growing in popularity. The patient is taught how to perform the treatments at a dialysis center. Home hemodialysis also uses a dialysis machine. Typically, home dialysis is done five to seven days per week, with each treatment taking approximately two to three hours. It can even be done overnight while the patient is sleeping.

Peritoneal dialysis is a different type of process, although it serves the same purpose: mimicking some of the functions of the kidneys. In this type of procedure, dialysis solution is dripped directly into the patient's abdomen. Waste products in the patient's blood enter the fluid, which is drained out in a few hours after it has become almost saturated with waste.

The continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis equipment (a CAPD device) allows the patient to move around. Alternatively, continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD) is often done overnight. This technique uses a machine that drains and refills the abdomen with dialysis solution automatically. The price of the machines typically ranges from 300 (used) to 6,000 dollars.

Dialysis machines can be life-saving, although the dialysis procedure is not without its burdens, being time-consuming and often requiring regular trips to a dialysis center. The development of dialysis machines that allow self-treatment at home eases the burdens considerably.


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