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Nephrology

Nephrology is a specialty of medicine that concern with the study of normal kidney function, kidney problems, the treatment of kidney problems and renal replacement therapy (dialysis and kidney transplantation). Patients are referred to nephrologists for various reasons, such as acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease, hematuria, proteinuria, kidney stones, hypertension, and disorder of acid/base of electrolytes.


Dialysis

While healthy kidneys have several functions in the body, the most well-known is to produce urine. When kidney function goes below 10% to 15% kidneys are no longer able to filter the blood and make urine. This causes toxins to build up in the body along with excess fluid. Here comes in renal replacement therapy — meaning a treatment that replaces kidney function called hemodialysis. Hemodialysis is a therapy that filters waste, removes extra fluid and balances electrolytes.

In hemodialysis, blood is removed from the body and filtered through a man-made membrane called a dialyzer, or artificial kidney, and then the filtered blood is returned to the body. To perform hemodialysis there needs to be an access created to get the blood from the body to the dialyzer and back to the body. There are three access types for hemodialysis: arteriovenous (AV) fistula, AV graft and central venous catheter. The AV fistula is the vascular access most recommended.

When a patient goes to hemodialysis, a nurse or technician will check vital signs and get the patient’s weight. The weight gain will tell how much excess fluid the patient has to have removed during the treatment. The patient is then “put on the machine”.

Blood never actually goes through the dialysis machine. The dialysis machine is like a big computer and a pump. It keeps track of blood flow, blood pressure, how much fluid is removed and other vital information.

  
  

  
 

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