Kidney Dialysis | Are there any Side Effects of Renal Dialysis?

Two types of dialysis

  • Hemodialysis

This treatment makes use of a machine or artificial kidney equipment which functions to take out the unnecessary fluid and salt that accumulated in the body, to stabilize the other electrolytes, and get rid of wastes from metabolic processes that occur inside the body. Blood is taken out by passing through a tube in the dialyzer and then through a filter membrane. The dialysate solution runs on the other side of the filter membrane. This chemical solution has been prepared to extract wastes from the blood using the filter. There is no way for the blood and chemical solution to come in contact while being passed through the artificial kidney equipment.

In order to gain access to the blood during hemodialysis, the blood vessels have to be made larger through surgery so that huge blood volumes can pass through the machine and back towards the body. The physician can make a fistula in the arm to connect major blood vessels that are responsible for huge volumes of blood to pass into the vein. The vein turns out bigger and thicker in order to endure repeated needle sticks to connect the tube that is passed through the body and the machine. Because the fistula will take weeks before it can be used, major preparation is necessary for this procedure.
If it is a case of acute kidney failure which does not allow enough time to make a fistula, special tubing may be introduced into the major blood vessels of the chest and limbs. The tubes or catheters may be slotted in place for weeks. In some cases, the requirement for dialysis is not permanent. However, if this is required for a long time, the catheters will serve as conduit until a fistula can be prepared, positioned, and matured.
Dialysis is usually done thrice in a week and can take a few hours every treatment. Patients typically need to go to a dialysis center for outpatient care. However, there are home dialysis service providers these days that go to patients’ houses to administer the treatment.

Peritoneal dialysis

This treatment makes use of the stomach cavity’s lining or peritoneum to filter out body wastes and normalize electrolyte balance. A tube is passed through the abdominal wall and placed at the stomach lining for long term use. The dialysate solution is passed through the catheter and remains in the stomach for a few hours. The tube will be drained of the waste materials that come from the blood passing through the peritoneum.

Benefits of dialysis

Kidney DialysisThe major benefit of this treatment is the possibility of lengthening or saving the lives of many patients. Without dialysis of the kidney, a patient with renal failure will die immediately because of severe condition that involves body electrolytes and the accumulation of toxic substances in the blood. Patients have been able to extend their lives with this treatment. However, some patients die due to underlying and related disease conditions.

Possible kidney dialysis side effects or complications

There are benefits at the same time side effects or complications in the usage of any type of dialysis. Not all patients have the capability to choose which type they prefer to use. The decision is actually dependent on the state of health or illness of the patient including his previous medical history. The specialist is expected to discuss this issue thoroughly with the patient and significant others in order to resolve a final decision for the best interest of the health and wellbeing of the patient.

  • Side effects of hemodialysis
  • Vascular access – This is a very typical concern which brings patients going through hemodialysis to be admitted in the care facility.
  • Infection
  • Blockage due to clotting
  • Deficient blood flow
  • Some problems are caused by recurrent changes in the fluid and chemical balance while going through treatment.
  • Muscle cramping is a common side-effect
  • Hypotension or unexpected lowering of blood pressure which can make the patient feel woozy, fatigued, or nauseated


  • Common side effects of peritoneal dialysis
  • Peritonitis – A very common problem of this mode of treatment is peritonitis. It is a severe type of stomach infection. This can probably happen when the opening where the tube goes through the abdominal wall and into the body develops infection. This can also occur when the tube is repeatedly connected and disconnected from the bags which may result to contamination. Peritonitis is treated with prescribed antibiotics.

There is less incidence of infection when using presternal catheter or a tube placed inside the chest area. To prevent this type of infection, patient should be thorough in adhering precisely to procedures and should know how to identify the preliminary symptoms of peritonitis. Early signs include fever, fluid used is cloudy or has atypical color, redness of skin surrounding the catheter, and pain around the catheter. The physician must immediately be informed of these signs in order to manage the infection as early as possible and prevent other problems from occurring.
These concerns can affect the effectiveness of treatments. The patient may have to go through more surgical procedures just to obtain a well functioning vascular access. The patient may need a few months for his body to accept the dialysis treatment. Side effects can be managed immediately and without difficulty. Hence, any side effect that occurs must always be informed to the physician or healthcare provider responsible with the dialysis procedure. A lot of side effects can be prevented if the patient adheres to prescribed diet, limit his intake of fluids, and all prescribed medications are taken timely.

Hello, my name is Stevan. And this is my blog. As a future doctor I am worried that a lot of people find out they are very ill when its too late already. With this site I want to help people find out what their symptoms mean and what to do next if they are related to kidney malfunction. Timely treatment of disease can save many lives.

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