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In medicine, hemodialysis (also haemodialysis) is a method for removing waste products such as potassium and urea, as well as free water from the blood when the kidneys are in renal failure. Hemodialysis is one of three renal replacement therapies (the other two being renal transplant; peritoneal dialysis).
Hemodialysis can be an outpatient or inpatient therapy. Routine hemodialysis is conducted in a dialysis outpatient facility, either a purpose built room in a hospital or a dedicated, stand alone clinic. Less frequently hemodialysis is done at home. Dialysis treatments in a clinic are initiated and managed by specialized staff made up of nurses and technicians; dialysis treatments at home can be self initiated and managed or done jointly with the assistance of a trained helper who is usually a family member.
The principle of hemodialysis is the same as other methods of dialysis; it involves diffusion of solutes across a semipermeable membrane. Hemodialysis utilizes counter current flow, where the dialysate is flowing in the opposite direction to blood flow in the extracorporeal circuit. Counter-current flow maintains the concentration gradient across the membrane at a maximum and increases the efficiency of the dialysis.
Fluid removal (ultrafiltration) is achieved by altering the hydrostatic pressure of the dialysate compartment, causing free water and some dissolved solutes to move across the membrane along a created pressure gradient.
The dialysis solution that is used is a sterilized solution of mineral ions. Urea and other waste products, and also, potassium and phosphate, diffuse into the dialysis solution. However, concentrations of sodium and chloride are similar to those of normal plasma to prevent loss. Bicarbonate is added in a higher concentration than plasma to correct blood acidity. A small amount of glucose is also commonly used.
Note that this is a different process to the related technique of hemofiltration.
Many have played a role in developing dialysis as a practical treatment for renal failure, starting with Thomas Graham of Glasgow, who first presented the principles of solute transport across a semipermeable membrane in 1854. The artificial kidney was first developed by Abel, Rountree and Turner in 1913,, the first hemodialysis in a human being was by Hass (February 28, 1924) and the artificial kidney was develop a into clinically useful apparatus by Kolff in 1943 - 1945. This research showed that life could be prolonged in patients dying of renal failure.
Dr. Willem Kolff was the first to construct a working dialyzer in 1943. The first successfully treated patient was a 67-year-old woman in uremic coma regained consciousness after 11 hours of hemodialysis with Kolff’s dialyzer in 1945. At the time of its creation, Kolff’s goal was to provide life support during recovery from acute renal failure. After World War II ended, Kolff donated the five dialysers he’d made to hospitals around the world, including Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. Kolff gave a set of blueprints for his hemodialysis machine to George Thorn at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. This led to the manufacture of the next generation of Kolff’s dialyzer, a stainless steel Kolff-Brigham dialysis machine.
By the 1950s, Willem Kolff’s invention of the dialyser was used for acute renal failure, but it was not seen as a viable treatment for patients with stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD). At the time, doctors believed it was impossible for patients to have dialysis indefinitely for two reasons. Firstly, they thought no man-made device could replace the function of kidneys over the long term. In addition, a patient undergoing dialysis suffered from damaged veins and arteries, so that after several treatments, it became difficult to find a vessel to access the patient’s blood.
Dr. Nils Alwall: The original Kolff kidney was not very useful clinically, because it did not allow for removal of excess fluid. Dr. Nils Alwall  encased a modified version of this kidney inside a stainless steel canister, to which a negative pressure could be applied, in this way effecting the first truly practical application of hemodialysis, which was done in 1946 at the University of Lund. Alwall also was arguably the inventor of the arteriovenous shunt for dialysis. He reported this first in 1948, where he used such an arteriovenous shunt in rabbits. Subsequently he used such shunts, made of glass, as well as his canister-enclosed dialyzer, to treat 1500 patients in renal failure between 1946 and 1960, as reported to the First International Congress of Nephrology held in Evian in September 1960. Alwall was appointed to a newly-created Chair of Nephrology at the University of Lund in 1957. Subsequently, he collaborated with Swedish businessman Holger Crafoord to found one of the key companies that would manufacture dialysis equipment in the past 40 years, Gambro, Inc. The early history of dialysis has been reviewed by Stanley Shaldon .
Dr. Belding H. Scribner working with a surgeon, Dr. Wayne Quinton, modified the glass shunts used by Alwall by making them from Teflon. Another key improvement was to connect them to a short piece of silicone elastomer tubing. This formed the basis of the so-called Scribner shunt, perhaps more properly called the Quinton-Scribner shunt. After treatment, the circulatory access would be kept open by connecting the two tubes outside the body using a small U-shaped Teflon tube, which would shunt the blood from the tube in the artery back to the tube in the vein .
In 1962, Scribner started the world’s first outpatient dialysis facility, the Seattle Artificial Kidney Center, later renamed the Northwest Kidney Centers. Immediately the problem arose of who should be given dialysis, since demand far exceeded the capacity of the six dialysis machines at the center. Scribner decided that the decision about who would receive dialysis and who wouldn’t, would not be made by him. Instead, the choices would be made by an anonymous committee, which could be viewed as one of the first bioethics committees.
For a detailed history of successful and unsuccessful attempts at dialysis, including pioneers such as Abel and Roundtree, Haas, and Necheles, see this review by Kjellstrand .
A prescription for dialysis by a nephrologist (a medical kidney specialist) will specify various parameters for a dialysis treatment. These include frequency (how many treatments per week), length of each treatment, and the blood and dialysis solution flow rates, as well as the size of the dialyzer. The composition of the dialysis solution is also sometimes adjusted in terms of its sodium and potassium and bicarbonate levels. In general, the larger the body size of an individual, the more dialysis he will need. In the North America and UK, 3-4 hour treatments (sometimes up to 5 hours for larger patients) given 3 times a week are typical. Twice-a-week sessions are limited to patients who have a substantial residual kidney function. Four sessions per week are often prescribed for larger patients, as well as patients who have trouble with fluid overload. Finally, there is growing interest in short daily home hemodialysis, which is comprised of 1.5 - 4 hr sessions given 5-7 times per week, usually at home. There also is interest in nocturnal dialysis, which involves dialyzing a patient, usually at home, for 8-10 hours per night, 3-6 nights per week. Nocturnal in-center dialysis, 3-4 times per week is also offered at a handful of dialysis units in the United States.
Side-effects and complications
Hemodialysis often involves fluid removal (through ultrafiltration), because most patients with renal failure pass little or no urine. Side effects caused by removing too much fluid and/or removing fluid too rapidly include low blood pressure, fatigue, chest pains, leg-cramps, nausea and headaches. These symptoms can occur during the treatment and can persist post treatment; they are sometimes collectively referred to as the dialysis hangover or dialysis washout. The severity of these symptoms are usually proportionate to the amount and speed of fluid removal. However, the impact of a given amount or rate of fluid removal can vary greatly from person to person and day to day. These side effects can be avoid and/or their severity lessoned by limiting fluid intake between treatments or increasing the dose of dialysis e.g. dialyzing more often or longer per treatment than the standard three times a week, 3-4 hours per treatment schedule.
Since hemodialysis requires access to the circulatory system, patients undergoing hemodialysis may expose their circulatory system to microbes, which can lead to sepsis, an infection affecting the heart valves (endocarditis) or an infection affecting the bones (osteomyelitis). The risk of infection varies depending on the type of access used (see below). Bleeding may also occur, again the risk varies depending on the type of access used. Infections can be minimized by strictly adhering to infection control best practices.
Heparin is the most commonly used anticoagulant in hemodialysis, as it is generally well tolerated and can be quickly reversed with protamine sulfate. Heparin allergy can infrequently be a problem and can cause a low platelet count. In such patients, alternative anticoagulants can be used. In patients at high risk of bleeding, dialysis can be done without anticoagulation.
First Use Syndrome is a rare but severe anaphylactic reaction to the artificial kidney. Its symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath, back pain, chest pain, or sudden death. It can be caused by residual sterilant in the artificial kidney or the material of the membrane itself. In recent years, the incidence of First Use Syndrome has fallen off, due to an increased use of gamma irradiation, steam sterilization, or electron-beam radiation instead of chemical sterilants, and the development of new semipermeable membranes of higher biocompatibility.
Longterm complications of hemodialysis include Amyloidosis, Neuropathy and various forms of Heart disease. Increasing the frequency and length of treatments have been shown to improve the symptoms of these long term complications.
Listed below are specific complications associated with different types of hemodialysis access.
There are three primary modes of access to the blood in hemodialysis: an intravenous catheter, an arteriovenous (AV) fistula, or synthetic graft. The type of access is influenced by factors such as the expected time course of a patient's renal failure and the condition of his or her vasculature. Patients may have multiple accesses, usually because an AV fistula or graft is maturing, and a catheter is still being used.
Catheter access, sometimes called a CVC (Central Venous Catheter), consists of a plastic catheter with two lumens (or occasionally two separate catheters) which is inserted into a large vein (usually the vena cava, via the internal jugular vein or the femoral vein) to allow large flows of blood to be withdrawn from one lumen, to go into the dialysis circuit, and to be returned via the other lumen. However, blood flow is almost always less than that of a well functioning fistula or graft.
They are usually found in two general varieties, tunnelled and non-tunnelled.
Non-tunnelled catheter access is for short term access (up to about 10 days, but often for one dialysis session only), and the catheter emerges from the skin at the site of entry into the vein.
Tunnelled catheter access involves a longer catheter, which is tunnelled under the skin from the point of insertion in the vein to an exit site some distance away. They are usually placed in the internal jugular vein in the neck and the exit site is usually on the chest wall. The tunnel acts as a barrier to invading microbes and as such tunnelled catheters are designed for short to medium term access (weeks to months only), as infection is still a frequent problem.
Aside from infection, venous stenosis is another serious problem with catheter access. The catheter is a foreign body in the vein, and often provokes an inflammatory reaction in the vein wall, which results in scarring and narrowing of the vein, often to the point where it occludes. This can cause problems with severe venous congestion in the area drained by the vein and may also render the vein, and the veins drained by it, useless for the formation of a fistula or graft at a later date. Patients on longterm hemodialysis can literally 'run-out' of access, so this can be a fatal problem.
Catheter access is usually used for rapid access for immediate dialysis, for tunnelled access in patients who are deemed likely to recover from acute renal failure, and patients with end-stage renal failure, who are either waiting for alternative access to mature, or those who are unable to have alternative access.
Catheter access is often popular with patients, as attachment to the dialysis machine doesn't require needles. However the serious risks of catheter access noted above mean that such access should only be contemplated as a long term solution in the most desperate access situation.
AV (arteriovenous) fistulas are recognized as the preferred access method. To create a fistula, a vascular surgeon joins an artery and a vein together through anastomosis. Since this bypasses the capillaries, blood flows at a very high rate through the fistula. One can feel this by placing one's finger over a mature fistula. This is called feeling for "thrill", and feels like a distinct 'buzzing' feeling over the fistula. Fistulas are usually created in the non-dominant arm, and may be situated on the hand (the 'snuffbox' fistula'), the forearm (usually a radiocephalic fistula, or so-called Brescia-Cimino fistula, in which the radial artery is anastomosed to the cephalic vein) or the elbow (usually a brachiocephalic fistula, where the brachial artery is anastomosed to the cephalic vein). A fistula will take a number of weeks to mature, on average perhaps 4-6 weeks. During treatment, two needles are inserted into the fistula, one to draw blood and one to return it.
The advantages of the AV fistula use are lower infection rates, as there is no foreign material involved in their formation, higher blood flow rates (which translates to more effective dialysis), and a lower incidence of thrombosis. The complications are few, but if a fistula has a very high flow in it, and the vasculature that supplies the rest of the limb is poor, then a steal syndrome can occur, where blood entering the limb is drawn into the fistula and returned to the general circulation without entering the capillaries of the limb. This results in cold extremities of that limb, cramping pains, and if severe, tissue damage. One long term complication of an AV fistula can be the development of a bulging in the wall of the vein, or aneurysm, where the vessel wall is weakend by the repeated insertion of needles over time. To a large extent the risk of developing an aneurysm can be reduced by careful needling technique. Aneurysms may necessitate corrective surgery and may shorten the useful life of a fistula. To prevent damage to the fistula and aneurysm or pseudoaneurysm formation, it is recommended that different needle sticking points be used in a rotating fashion. Another approach is to cannulate the fistula with a blunted needle, in exactly the same place. This is called a 'buttonhole' approach. Often two or three buttonhole places are available on a given fistula. This also can prolong fistula life and help prevent damage to the fistula.
AV (arteriovenous) grafts are much like fistulas in most respects, except that an artificial vessel is used to join the artery and vein. The graft usually is made of a synthetic material, often PTFE, but sometimes chemically-treated, sterilized veins from animals are used. Grafts are used when the patient's native vasculature does not permit a fistula. They mature faster than fistulas, and may be ready to be used several weeks after formation (some newer grafts may be used even sooner). However, AV grafts are at high risk for developing narrowing, especially in the vein just downstream to where the graft has been sewn to the vein. As a result of the narrowing, clotting or thrombosis often occurs. As foreign material, they are at greater risk for becoming infected. The options for sites to place a graft are larger, due to the fact that the graft can be fashioned quite long. Thus they can be placed in the thigh or even the neck (the 'necklace graft').
Fistula First project
The access patency and access survival with AV fistulas is much better than that with venous catheters or grafts. Also, patient survival is better with AV fistulas, and AV fistulas have much lower complication rates compared to grafts or venous catheters. For this reason, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) has set up a Fistula First Initiative , the object of which is to increase the utilization of AV fistulas in dialysis patients.
The hemodialysis machine performs the function of pumping the patient's blood and the dialysate through the dialyzer. The newest dialysis machines on the market are highly computerized and continuously monitor an array of safety-critical parameters, including blood and dialysate flow rates, dialysis solution conductivity, temperature, and pH; as well as dialysate for evidence of blood leakage or presence of air. If any reading is out of normal range, an audible alarm will sound to alert the patient-care technician who is monitoring the patient. Manufacturers of dialysis machines include companies such as Fresenius, Gambro, Baxter, B. Braun, and Bellco.
An extensive water purification system is absolutely critical for hemodialysis. Since dialysis patients are exposed to vast quantities of water, which is mixed with dialysate concentrate to form the dialysate, even trace mineral contaminants or bacterial endotoxins can filter into the patient's blood. Because the damaged kidneys are not able to perform their intended function of removing impurities, ions that are introduced into the blood stream via water can build up to hazardous levels, causing numerous symptoms including death. Aluminum, chloramine, fluoride, copper, and zinc, as well as bacterial fragments and endotoxins, have all caused problems in this regard.
For this reason, water used in hemodialysis is carefully purified prior to use. Initially it is filtered and temperature-adjusted, and its pH is corrected by addition of acid or base. Then it is softened. Next the water is run through a tank containing activated charcoal to adsorb organic contaminants. Primary purification is then done by forcing water through a membrane with very tiny pores, a so-called reverse osmosis membrane. This lets the water pass, but holds back even very small solutes such as electrolytes. Final removal of left over electrolytes is done by running the water through a tanks with ion-exchange resins, that basically take up any left over anions or cations and replace them with hydroxyl and hydrogen molecules, respectively, leaving ultrapure water.
On-line monitoring of dialysis solution during dialysis Once purified water is mixed with dialysate concentrate, its conductivity increases, since water that contains charged ions conducts electricity. During dialysis, the conductivity of dialysis solution is continuously monitored, to make sure that the water and dialysate concentrate are being mixed in the proper proportions. Both excessively concentrated dialysis solution, and excessively dilute solution can cause severe clinical problems.
Membrane and flux:
Dialyzer membranes used to be made primarily of cellulose (derived from cotton linter). The surface of such membranes was not very biocompatible, because exposed hydroxyl groups would activate complement in the blood passing by the membrane. Modifications of the basic, "unsubstituted" cellulose membrane were then developed. One was to cover these hydroxyl groups with acetate groups (cellulose acetate); another was to mixing in some compounds that would inhibit complement activation at the membrane surface (modified cellulose). The original "unsubstituted cellulose" membranes are no longer in wide use, whereas cellulose acetate and modified cellulose dialyzers are still used. Cellulosic membranes can be made in either low-flux or high-flux configuration, depending on their pore size.
Another group of membranes is made from synthetic materials, made of polymers such as polyarylethersulfone, polyamide, polyvinylpyrrolidone, polycarbonate, or polyacrylonitrile. These synthetic membranes activate complement to a lesser degree than unsubstituted cellulose membranes. Synthetic membranes can be made in either low- or high-flux configuration, but most of them tend to be high-flux.
Nanotechnology is being used in some of the most recent high-flux membranes in order to have a uniform pore size. The goal of high-flux membranes is to pass relatively large molecules such as beta-2-microglobulin (MW 11,600 daltons), but to not pass albumin (MW ~66,400 daltons). Whenever a membrane is made, there is a size distribution range of the pores, and as larger pore sizes are approached, some high-flux dialyzers begin to let albumin pass out of the blood into the dialysate. This is thought to be undesirable, although one school of thought believes that some albumin removal may be beneficial in terms of removing protein-bound uremic toxins.
Membrane flux and outcome
Membrane flux and beta-2-microglobulin amyloidosis
Dialyzer size and efficiency:
Reuse of dialyzers
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hemodialysis". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|