Skip to content
left end
left end
right end
I'm ok - my condition doesn't stop me doing any of the things I want to do



Haemodialysis is a type of dialysis that often takes place in a hospital. In haemodialysis  blood is pumped out of the body and through a machine with a type of artifical kidney before going back into your body. You might need to have haemodialysis three times a week and each session often takes about 3-4 hrs. While you aren't able to move around while you are connected to the machine you can still use the time to get on with studies or work, or catch up on a tv series or sleep! 

Before starting Haemodialysis

Before you can start haemodialysis you have a small operation to create a way to safely access your blood stream. There are two ways that this can happen:

  • Central Venous Line - this is a small thin tube that is placed into one of the large blood vessels in your body, usually in the neck or chest. 
  • Fistula - this is where two types of blood vessels are joined to create a single stronger blood vessel usually at the wrist or elbow. If you have a fistula, this surgery will take place about 8 weeks before dialysis starts to enable it to develop and strengthen.

A dialysis session 

If you haven't had dialysis before it can be helpful to know what to expect. Your healthcare team will talk to you about what a session looks like and do ask questions if you are unsure about anything.

When you arrive for a dialysis session your nurse will do a quick assessment including looking at your weight, blood pressure and temperature. These help to make sure that the haemodialysis machine is set up specifically for you.

When you are ready and these checks are complete you will be connected to the machine through your fistula or central line. The machine will then pump your blood through a tube into what is called the dialyser, or artificial kidney. This has a membrane that contains millions of small holes that acts like the glomeruli in a healthy kidney. This works like a sieve to remove waste products and salt from your blood and is helped by a fluid called dialysate. This also works to remove excess water from your body before the blood is returned to your body.  Your blood pressure will be monitored during haemodialysis and although it might not feel like it only a small amount of your blood is outside at any point.

You can find more here or talk to your team if you have any questions.