Understanding Hemodialysis

Jessie Henderson

What is hemodialysis?

Hemodialysis uses a man-made filter to help remove waste from your blood and eliminate extra fluid from your body because your kidneys can no longer do this job.

The process of hemodialysis.

Hemodialysis usually occurs in 3-4 hour sessions three times a week in a dialysis center.

During hemodialysis the team will use your graft to gain access to your bloodstream. Two needles will be inserted into your graft, one on each side. The needles will be attached to tubes, one tube will take blood from your body to the dialysis machine.

Inside the dialysis machine the blood will travel through a filter which removes waste and extra fluid. The cleaned blood then travels back to your body through the second tube. (Pellico, 375)

Your graft

Your graft was created by inserting an artifical tube into your skin that connects one of your arteries to one of your veins. Here are some things you can do to make sure you and your graft stay healthy.

Call your doctor if:

-Your graft sight changes in color or temperature.

-If your graft no longer vibrates when you touch it.

-You experiance pain, redness or swelling of your graft limb.

-You have a fever or chills.

-Your graft bleeds when you are not in the dialysis unit.

(Pellico, 375)

Dietary Considerations

Your diet can help reduce the amount of waste in your blood. Here are some guildlines to consider when planning your meals.



It's important to maintain protien in your blood to keep you healthy. Eating one high protien food with each meal can increase your protein intake.

High Protein Foods:






While peanut butter, nuts, seeds, dried peas and beans are good sources of protein, they are high in potassium and phosphorus and should be avoided.

Dairy Products

Dairy products can be high in phosphorus and can increase the amount of waste in your bloodstream. Decreasing the amount of milk and cheese can help keep you healthy.

Here are some dairy products that are lower in phosphorus:

-Cream cheese


-Heavy Cream

-Ricotta Cheese


Foods high in potassium to avoid


Your doctor may talk to you about limiting the amount of fluid you drink. Fluid is anything that is liquid at room temperature, that includes ice cream, soups and ice cubes.

If you have problems with dry mouth try sucking on hard candy, chewing gum or swishing your mouth with water. (Kidney.org)

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Pellico, L. H. (2013). Focus on adult health: Medical-surgical nursing. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

American Kidney Fund ǀ Helping people fight kidney disease and live healthier lives. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.kidneyfund.org/diet

(2011). Hemodialysis and how it works - IKAN ch6. Retrieved April 01, 2016, fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shFSW8VE3Gs

The National Kidney Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved April 04, 2016, fromhttps://www.kidney.org/diet

March is National Kidney Month. (n.d.). Retrieved April 04, 2016, from https://www.aakp.org/

Google Images. (n.d.). Retrieved April 02, 2016, from http://images.google.com/

All images used are from google image