Hemodialysis offers a lifeline to patients whose kidneys have stopped working due to kidney failure. This treatment uses a special machine to filter your blood, which can help you feel better and get back to the activities you enjoy.
Highlights of our in-center hemodialysis program include:
- Technology — We use the B.Braun Avitum Dialog+® with Adimea system, which allows us to monitor the effectiveness of your treatment in real time.
- Convenience — With dialysis units located throughout Central Virginia, you can receive treatment close to home. Many of our locations offer early morning, evening and Saturday appointments.
- Safety — Each center has multiple nurses who specialize in caring for dialysis patients. They focus on helping you have a safe experience.
Is In-Center Hemodialysis Right for You?
You may benefit from in-center hemodialysis if you:
- Like a set schedule and do not to wish to have dialysis every day
- Do not have a friend or family member who can help set up equipment and manage the tasks that go along with home dialysis
- Cannot have peritoneal dialysis due to obesity, scarring from an injury or previous surgical procedures in your abdominal area
In-Center Hemodialysis: What to Expect
In-center hemodialysis takes place in one of our dialysis units, where you receive treatment while sitting in a comfortable recliner. Most people need treatment three times a week. Each treatment lasts approximately four hours.
Months before your first treatment, you'll undergo a surgical procedure to create a dialysis access. We create your access by connecting smaller veins in your wrist to form a large vein. Your access makes it easier for blood to flow to and from the dialysis machine. It also protects you from infection and harmful blood clotting.
Once you're seated comfortably, we:
- Check your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature
- Connect you to the dialysis machine by inserting two needles into your arm
Getting poked with a needle can cause an unpleasant sensation, especially if you're fearful of needles. We use numbing cream and a gentle touch to help you through it.
Filtering Blood: How it Works
The dialysis machine removes toxins and extra fluids from your blood and returns clean blood to your body. The process involves several components and steps:
- A computer monitors fluid levels, blood pressure and blood flow.
- A pump moves blood from your body to the machine and back.
- A sponge-like filter (dialyzer) in the machine pulls out wastes and extra fluid with the help of a special dialysis solution (dialysate).
- Ultra-purified water pushes the extra fluid and toxins from your blood out of the machine and down a drain.
Care During Treatment
There are a few things you should know about treatment:
- You may experience some unpleasant side effects, such as nausea and cramping. We offer strategies to help you feel better, including changes to your diet and adjustments to dialysis machine settings.
- Amenities such as free Wi-Fi, individual TVs and heated massage recliners help you stay comfortable. You may receive visitors during your treatments.
- The dialysis machine’s computer shows us the level of toxins being removed from your blood (clearance), in real time. Your clearance lets us know how well the dialysis is working.
- Our team of dietitians and social workers meets with you on a regular basis to see how you are doing and talk about your treatment progress.
You may be tired during the first few weeks of dialysis. However, as your body adjusts, you should get your energy back and start to feel better.