To start hemodialysis treatment, the access site is cleansed and then two needles connected to tubes are inserted into the arm and are taped in place to remain secure, explains Mayo Clinic. Blood is drawn out through one of the needles; filtered through a blood filter, which removes wastes and excess fluid; and returned to the body through the other needle. During the procedure, heart rate and blood pressure are monitored.
Preparation for hemodialysis starts weeks or months before treatments actually begin, Mayo Clinic explains. Before hemodialysis can begin, surgeons must create a special access point and then must allow it to heal in place. This access point can take the form of an arteriovenous fistula or an arteriovenous graft. The fistula is a surgical joining of an artery and a vein, usually in the arm the patient uses less. The graft uses an artificial tube to connect the blood vessels.
Hemodialysis is a procedure that replaces the function of unhealthy kidneys, notes Mayo Clinic. It is the most common treatment for advanced kidney failure. Hemodialysis treatments must be applied on a rigorously regular schedule to be fully effective. It is a crucial treatment that helps control blood pressure and levels of vital blood minerals such as potassium and sodium.