Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA



Modern technology replaces vital kidney functions

Most patients with chronic renal failure receive treatment at a dialysis clinic three to four times a week – either in a dialysis clinic or at home. Modern technology replaces vital kidney functions during treatment. A dialysis machine pumps blood from a special vascular access in the lower arm of the patient into a dialyzer, the so-called artificial kidney. The dialyzer filters metabolic waste products and removes excess water from the blood. These waste products are then flushed out with dialysis solution and the filtered blood is returned to the patient’s body.

Illustration Hemodialysis

While the blood is cleaned inside the dialyzer, the dialysis machine monitors the circulation of blood outside the body and controls the composition of the dialysis fluid. Furthermore, it pumps blood and dialysis solution through the dialyzer in two separate circuits. Anti-coagulants are also added to the blood to prevent it from clotting.

Blood is taken from a vascular access in the lower arm

For hemodialysis, a significant amount of blood must be taken from the body. The body’s own blood vessels can’t be used since veins, which lie directly beneath the skin, don’t carry enough blood. On the other hand, the blood pressure within arteries is too great and they can be difficult to locate since they lie deeper within the body. To overcome this problem, a vein and an artery are joined during a small operation to create a short circuit. Blood flows faster through the vein and at a higher pressure. This short circuit – which does not affect circulation – is known as a “shunt”. If no shunt is available, blood can temporarily be draw from a catheter placed in one of the larger blood vessels.

For more information about kidney patient care, please visit Fresenius Medical Care's NephroCare website or the UltraCare website of Fresenius Medical Care North America.