Hemodialysis: What and Why?

Haemodialysis (HD) is a process that filters waste and fluids from the blood. It is one of the treatment options for patients with end-stage renal failure. Haemodialysis is generally performed at a dialysis centre, and the usual duration of an HD session is four hours.

How is hemodialysis performed?

Hemodialysis involves the removal of blood from the body and filtering it through a human-made membrane called a dialyzer (an artificial kidney). The filtered blood is then returned to the body.

To perform hemodialysis, there needs to be access created to get the blood from the body to the dialyzer and back to the body.

A particular blood vessel (arteriovenous fistula) is created by connecting an artery to a vein to make the blood vessel stronger and larger. Creating this blood vessel makes it simpler to transfer blood into the dialysis machine and back to the body.

Procedure for hemodialysis

Two needles are inserted into the patient’s arm.

One needle withdraws the blood, and the other returns the filtered blood to the patient’s body.

The blood that is withdrawn by the first needle flows outside the body to the dialysis machine through the tubing.

The dialysis machine then pumps this blood with the help of a filter called a dialyzer, which is connected to the dialysis machine.

The dialyzer purifies the blood and returns it to the patient’s body through the second needle.

Complications of hemodialysis 


• Low blood pressure

• Muscle cramps

• Nausea and vomiting

• Headache

• Itchy skin

• Chest pain

• Back pain

• Fever and chills


• Allergic reactions

• Cardiac arrhythmia

• Cardiac arrest

• Fits

• Hemolysis


• Anemia

• Bone diseases

• Viral infections like

Hepatitis B and C

Between hemodialysis treatments

Between hemodialysis treatments, the patient can help achieve the best possible results from hemodialysis by:

Eating the right foods- the patient should carefully monitor the intake of fluids, protein, sodium, potassium and phosphorus.

A dietitian can help develop an individualized meal plan based on the patient’s weight, personal preferences, remaining kidney function, and other medical conditions, such as diabetes or B.P.

Taking medications as prescribed.

Discussing concerns with the healthcare team, if any.


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