Hemodialysis cleans your blood using a machine equipped with a filter called a dialyzer. Your blood is slowly removed from your body and passed through the dialyzer machine. Think of it as an artificial kidney. The dialyzer removes water and waste products like urea and creatine from your blood. Blood cells, proteins and nutrients are too big to pass through the filter so they remain in your blood. After filtering, the blood returns to your body.
Before starting dialysis, you’ll have a minor surgical procedure to create an access point to your blood vessels. Access points called fistulas or grafts are common, but other options are available.
Patients often receive hemodialysis in a community-based dialysis center, but more and more people are choosing to have the treatment at home. If you also choose to do dialysis at home, you’ll need someone to help you set up and perform the treatment and enough space for the equipment.