How Does a Dialysis Machine Work?
By Joe S., DaVita Bio-medical Technician
Dialysis sufferers are all too accustomed to the routine of their therapies: Go to the clinic, get weighed, have their temperature and blood stress taken, get caught with needles (except the affected person has a catheter entry), have tubes linked from their entry to the dialyzer after which sit within the chair till it’s time to go house. Whereas ready, have you ever ever puzzled how a dialysis machine works?
As “the machine man,” I wish to take this chance to clarify how your dialysis machine works by answering a few of the most steadily requested questions.
What does my dialysis machine do?
The dialysis machine mixes and screens the dialysate. Dialysate is the fluid that helps take away the undesirable waste merchandise out of your blood. It additionally helps get your electrolytes and minerals to their correct ranges in your physique. The machine additionally screens the circulate of your blood whereas it’s exterior of your physique. Chances are you’ll hear an alarm go off occasionally. That is how the machine lets us know that one thing must be checked.
What are these plastic jugs sitting in entrance of my machine?
The plastic jugs maintain the liquids used to combine the dialysate. The machine mixes the dialysate, which is made up of an acidified answer, bicarbonate and purified water. The acidified answer accommodates electrolytes and minerals. Chances are you’ll hear it known as “acid.” The opposite answer is bicarbonate or bicarb, which is like baking soda. Each are blended contained in the machine with purified water. While you’re dialyzing, dialysate and your blood circulate via the dialyzer (however they by no means contact). Recent dialysate from the machine enters your dialyzer all through your therapy. Impurities are filtered out of your blood into the dialysate. Dialysate containing undesirable waste merchandise and extra electrolytes depart the dialyzer and are washed down the drain.
How does my blood get out and in of my physique?
Blood tubing carries your blood out of your entry to the dialyzer. The blood tubing is threaded via the blood pump. You’ll see the blood pump delivering a round movement. The pumping motion of the blood pump pushes your blood via the dialyzer and again into your physique.
What’s within the syringe that’s connected to my machine?
Blood tends to clot when it strikes via the blood tubing. To stop this the nurse will provide you with a drug known as “heparin.” Your physician orders the quantity of heparin you get at every therapy. That quantity of heparin is drawn up right into a syringe then positioned on the machine into the “heparin pump.” The heparin pump is programmed to launch the correct amount of heparin into your blood tubing throughout your therapy. The heparin prevents your blood from clotting.
How does the machine hold me secure?
One downside which will happen throughout dialysis is that air will get into the blood tubing. To stop this from taking place, blood tubings have two air traps constructed into them. One entice is earlier than the dialyzer and the opposite is after it. These traps catch any air which will get into the system. If air does get previous these traps an inner machine air sensor shuts down the blood pump and an alarm will sound. All blood circulate is stopped till the air is eliminated.
Why are there so many alarms?
The machine repeatedly screens the pressures created by your blood contained in the blood tubing and dialyzer. It additionally screens the blood circulate, temperature and correct combination of the dialysate. If any of those exit of vary, the machine lets us know by sounding an alarm, blinking lights and shutting down blood or dialysate circulate. It additionally lets us know in case your blood stress is simply too low or excessive. Oh sure, it additionally alarms when it’s time to go house.
Need to know extra?
I notice that this will not reply all your questions. That’s why I invite you to ask the bio-medical technician (machine individual) at your dialysis heart any questions you may have. Your bio-medical technician might be glad to share any data with you. The extra you realize, the extra comfy you can be along with your therapies.