Hemodialysis is a process by which an artificial kidney called a “hemodialyzer” mechanically purifies the blood. Hemodialysis is performed in a medical facility. It removes impurities more efficiently than peritoneal dialysis. A hemodialysis treatment typically requires about 3 hours and is generally performed three times a week. The duration of hemodialysis episodes depend upon the degree of damage to the kidneys, amount of excess fluid present in the body and body weight.
Usually, each hemodialysis treatment lasts about four hours and is done three times per week. A type of hemodialysis called high-flux dialysis may take less time. You can speak to your doctor to see if this is an appropriate treatment for you.
To illustrate, a healthy 65-year-old man in the general population can expect about 17 years of life in the absence of kidney failure but will live for only 3.6 years on dialysis. A kidney transplant would permit that same man 12 years of life.
Hemodialysis is most often done three times per week for three to four hours at a dialysis center. There are also two less common methods of hemodialysis. In-center nocturnal hemodialysis involves extended treatments three or more nights a week while you sleep.
If you decide to do home dialysis, you and your partner will receive special training. Hemodialysis usually is done three times a week. Each treatment lasts from 2 to 4 hours.