Sonya Roth, RN, administrator of the Washington DaVita dialysis facility, spoke to the Washington Kiwanis Club about kidney disease and the role of dialysis in the treatment of that disease. She is pictured holding an artificial kidney used in the dialysis process. The local facility employs 15 full time staff members and is headed up by Dr. B.N. Kuppuswamy. Roth mentioned that the facility serves patients ranging from 33-87 years of age in Lincoln, Taliaferro, Greene, and Wilkes Counties. Roth said that diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure accounting for 40 percent of cases, followed by high blood pressure at 25 percent. She discussed symptoms of kidney failure and cautioned that people should see their doctor annually. Roth mentioned that most patients who receive dialysis treatment visit the clinic three times a week for a three-hour treatment session each time. The dialysis treatment does in three hours what your kidneys accomplish in 48 hours, she said. Al Zima (left) was program host for the day.
In hemodialysis, the patient's blood is pumped through the blood compartment of a dialyzer, exposing it to a semipermeable membrane. The cleansed blood is then returned via the circuit back to the body. Ultrafiltration occurs by increasing the hydrostatic pressure across the dialyzer membrane. This usually is done by applying a negative pressure to the dialysate compartment of the dialyzer. This pressure gradient causes water and dissolved solutes to move from blood to dialysate, and allows the removal of several litres of excess fluid during a typical 3 to 5 hour treatment.
In the US, hemodialysis treatments are typically given in a dialysis center three times per week (due in the US to Medicare reimbursement rules), however, as of 2007 over 2,000 people in the US are dialyzing at home more frequently for various treatment lengths. Studies have demonstrated the clinical benefits of dialyzing 5 to 7 times a week, for 6 to 8 hours. These frequent long treatments are often done at home, while sleeping but home dialysis is a flexible modality and schedules can be changed day to day, week to week. In general, studies have shown that both increased treatment length and frequency are clinically beneficial.
In medicine, hemodialysis (also haemodialysis) is a method for removing waste products such as potassium and urea, as well as free water from the blood when the kidneys are in renal failure. Hemodialysis is one of three renal replacement therapies (the other two being renal transplant; peritoneal dialysis).
Hemodialysis can be an outpatient or inpatient therapy. Routine hemodialysis is conducted in a dialysis outpatient facility, either a purpose built room in a hospital or a dedicated, stand alone clinic. Less frequently hemodialysis is done at home. Dialysis treatments in a clinic are initiated and managed by specialized staff made up of nurses and technicians; dialysis treatments at home can be self initiated and managed or done jointly with the assistance of a trained helper who is usually a family member.