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Dialysis centers - what to expect

Artificial kidneys - dialysis centers; Dialysis - what to expect; Renal replacement therapy - dialysis centers; End-stage renal disease - dialysis centers; Kidney failure - dialysis centers; Renal failure - dialysis centers; Chronic kidney disease-dialysis centers

If you need dialysis for kidney disease, you have a few options for how to receive treatment. Many people have dialysis in a treatment center. This article focuses on hemodialysis at a treatment center.

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What to Expect

You may have treatment in a hospital or in a separate dialysis center.

It is important not to miss or skip any dialysis sessions. Be sure you arrive on time. Many centers have busy schedules. So you may not be able to make up the time if you are late.

During dialysis, your blood will flow through a special filter that removes waste and excess fluid. The filter is sometimes called an artificial kidney.

Once you arrive at the center, trained health care providers will take charge of you.

During your first sessions, you may have some nausea, cramping, dizziness, and headaches. This may go away after a few sessions, but be sure to tell your providers if you feel unwell. Your providers may be able to adjust your treatment to help you feel more comfortable.

Having too much fluid in your body that needs to be removed can cause symptoms. This is why you should follow a strict kidney dialysis diet. Your provider will go over this with you.

How long your dialysis session lasts depends on:

Between Sessions

Getting dialysis does take a lot of time, and it will take some getting used to. Between sessions, you can still go about your daily routine.

Getting kidney dialysis does not have to keep you from traveling or working. There are many dialysis centers across the United States and in many other countries. If you plan to travel, you will need to make appointments ahead of time.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your provider if you notice:

Also, call your provider if any of the following symptoms are severe or last more than 2 days:

References

Kotanko P, Kuhlmann MK, Chan C. Levin NW. Hemodialysis: principles and techniques. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 93.

Misra M. Hemodialysis and hemofiltration. In: Gilbert SJ, Weiner DE, eds. National Kidney Foundation's Primer on Kidney Disease. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 57.

Yeun JY, Young B, Depner TA, Chin AA. Hemodialysis. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 63.

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Review Date: 1/15/2020  

Reviewed By: Walead Latif, MD, Nephrologist and Clinical Associate Professor, Rutgers Medical School, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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