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Hemodialysis, or dialysis, is the use of a machine to remove wastes from your blood. You need it if your kidneys are not able to remove wastes on their own. A dialysis access is the place in your arm, or sometimes in your leg, where a doctor creates a blood vessel that carries a large flow of blood. When you have dialysis, two needles are placed in this blood vessel and are connected to the dialysis machine. Your blood flows out of one needle and into the machine to be cleaned. Then your cleaned blood flows back into your body through the other needle. Sometimes, a doctor makes a short-term access through a tube, called a catheter, placed in your neck, upper chest, or groin.
Your doctor creates an access during a minor surgery. You need to take care of your access to keep it working and to prevent infection.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: August 11, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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