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Hemodialysis For Acute Renal Failure


What is hemodialysis for acute renal failure?

Hemodialysis is a procedure to remove chemicals, wastes, and extra fluid from your blood. Hemodialysis does the work of your kidneys when they are not working, such as with acute renal (kidney) failure. Acute renal failure develops when your kidneys suddenly stop working. Failure happens quickly, within hours or days. The hemodialysis machine takes blood from your artery and pumps it through a dialyzer. The dialyzer removes chemicals, waste, and extra fluid from your blood. Clean blood from the dialyzer returns to your body through a vein.

What needs to be done before hemodialysis?

Your caregiver will ask about your medical history and examine you. You may also need to have blood and urine tests. A hemodialysis catheter will be placed into a vein in your arm, chest, or groin. The catheter is a long, thin, flexible tube that carries blood from your vein to and from the hemodialysis machine.

How often do I need hemodialysis?

Most people have hemodialysis 3 times each week in a hemodialysis center. You may have hemodialysis in your hospital room instead, depending on your condition. Each session lasts 3 to 5 hours. You may need to have hemodialysis sessions for longer than 24 hours.

What happens after hemodialysis?

You may have to rest in the hospital so your caregiver can check for other symptoms of acute renal failure. You may need more hemodialysis sessions, depending on your condition. Your caregiver may do surgery to make an arteriovenous fistula (AVF) or place an arteriovenous graft (AVG).

What is arteriovenous fistula or graft surgery?

An AVF or AVG is a surgical connection between an artery and vein. An AVF or AVG may work for months or years. An AVF or AVG is usually done in the arm, but your leg may be used. Caregivers will use your AVF or AVG to insert needles and connect you to the hemodialysis machine. Blood will go out from and come back to the AVG or AVF after it is cleaned. You may have to wait for your AVF or AVG to heal before it can be used for hemodialysis. If you need hemodialysis before then, your caregiver may insert another catheter.

When should I contact my caregiver?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You do not feel a buzzing sensation in your fistula or graft. The buzzing sensation means it is working properly.
  • Your skin is itchy or has a rash.
  • You cannot make it to your next follow-up or dialysis visit.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • The skin around your fistula or graft is painful, hot, red, or swollen.
  • You cannot eat or drink because you are vomiting.
  • You are urinating little or not at all.
  • Your fingers are blue or pale, or they feel cool to the touch.
  • You are breathing fast or have a fast heartbeat.
  • You are confused, dizzy, or lightheaded.
  • You have sudden chest pain or trouble breathing.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.