How to Operate a Dialysis Machine

As a dialysis patient care technician, one of your most important responsibilities will be carrying out dialysis on ill patients. The type of dialysis that is most common is called hemodialysis and it involves removing blood to an external machine which filters it before it is returned to the patient’s body. To better understand the process, we are providing a short primer of how to operate a dialysis machine and what the procedure entails.

Before Treatment

Before dialysis starts, a special blood vessel is created in the arm of the patient. This is called an arteriovenous fistula; the process involves connecting a vein to an artery. This makes the blood vessel stronger and larger to make transfer of blood easier. The operation is separate from dialysis and often happens a month or two before dialysis treatment begins.

Dialysis Process

In most cases, a patient will receive dialysis treatment three time a week. Each session will last about four hours. The procedure begins when the technician inserts thin needles into your fistula and tapes them in place. One of the needles removes blood to go into the dialysis machine.

The machine itself has a number of membranes that filter the blood, as well as a liquid known as dialysate. First, the membranes filter waste from the blood and then the blood is moved to the dialysate filter. The waste is remove and filtered blood is passed back into the body with the second inserted needle.

While a patient is going through a session, they may sit on a couch or bed. Often, the facility they are in will allow them to listen to music, use a mobile device, read, or sleep during the process. You will be there to provide what the patient needs and to watch over the dialysis machine.

Most patients will not feel pain during the process, but some may become dizzy or feel nauseous. Muscle cramps are also common. All of these things are caused by the quick changes in terms of blood fluid levels during treatment.

When the session is complete, the technician will remove the needles and apply a bandage to prevent any bleeding. The patient will be allowed to leave and go home soon after this is complete.

If you are interested in a career path as a dialysis technician, you can learn more about how to operate a dialysis machine at Dialysis 4 Career. There are many other tips and helpful articles available on our website at www.Dialysis4Career.com.