Dialysis to treat acute kidney failure

Dialysis is a process by which a machine filters the patients blood. The blood enters the machine through IV needles which are stuck into the patients arms, the machine filters the blood, and then re-injects it back into the body. This process can either be short or long term, depending on the stage of kidney failure the patient is in, and whether or not the patient can receive a transplanted kidney. The machine doing dialysis also removes excess fluid from the blood, and corrects acidosis, and electrolyte imbalances.

Patients undergoing dialysis receive one of two types: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Patients with acute kidney failure receive dialysis only when other treatment options fail. Dialysis can dramatically improve the quality of, and extend the length of the patients life. Patients usually need dialysis when they experience severe swelling, high levels of potassium in the blood which can not be controlled any other way, or severe acidosis.

The length of time a patient will need to undergo dialysis depends on the severity of their kidney failure, and whether or not they are a candidate for a kidney transplant. Some patients only need dialysis until their kidney functions completely recover – this is generally a time period of one to four weeks, however, some patients need dialysis for life because their degree of kidney failure is severe, and irreversible.

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