In order for a dialysis technician to understand the valuable services that they provide to the patient population, it is important to learn about the physical and mechanical processes that take place during treatment. A solid grasp of the scientific principles behind dialysis therapy serves to enhance the technician’s competence and helps when attempting to answer questions that patients have about their condition. The ultimate goal of dialysis is to compensate for some of the loss in filtration capacity that occurs when one or both of the kidneys have been damaged by a variety of different diseases. The filtration process is the mechanism that the body uses to get rid of excess water and waste as well as maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes. This cleaning of the blood prevents the accumulation of toxic metabolites and allows the body to avoid several adverse side effects that would otherwise develop. Feel free to visit their website at Pulse Vascular for more details.
Human survival is dependent on the maintenance of a homeostatic balance of nutrients throughout the body. Many of the electrolytes that the body uses are dissolved in the blood and are circulated as a means for facilitating the exchange of nutrients and wastes between the cells and the blood vessels. The dialysis treatment process has the unique challenge of removing excess water and waste from the bloodstream without pulling out the nutritional elements that the body needs to survive. In order to prevent the loss of essential electrolytes from the blood, a special fluid is used that closely mimics the normal concentration of nutritional content found in the bloodstream.
A dialysis machine is similar to a healthy kidney in the sense that it contains a membrane that is permeable to particles below a certain size. This allows water and waste molecules to leave the blood while preventing particles such as protein and blood from exiting. The scientific principle known as diffusion causes the movement of waste particles from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. Waste molecules in the dialysate are intentionally kept lower than that of the blood so that they will move across the membrane. The resulting fluid can then be disposed of by the technician. The scientific principle known as osmosis is the reason that excess water leaves the blood. This occurs because of the higher particle concentration in the dialysate. Water is forced to leave the blood in order to dilute the dialysate until it has reached equilibrium with the blood.
When a patient arrives at a dialysis clinic for treatment, they have usually gone through a period of two or three days without having the blood filtered. During this time, excess water and waste are constantly accumulating in the body and are creating an electrolyte imbalance. The treatment process works to remove this excess water and waste as well as restore the proper concentration of electrolytes. The body has three different compartments including the space inside cells, the space outside of cells, and the space inside blood vessels. In order to sustain equilibrium, the body attempts to maintain particle concentration in each of these spaces. By removing particles from the bloodstream, dialysis creates a concentration gradient between the body’s three compartments which, in turn, causes a particle shift between them. This action allows the body to restore the equilibrium that it needs in order to survive.
It is important for technicians to understand that treatment must occur gradually so that dramatic shifts in the particle balance of the body do not occur. The fact that portions of the blood only spend a short amount of time in the machine means that multiple passes must occur in order to thoroughly clean the blood. The more time a patient spends in treatment, the less likely they are to experience adverse dialysis side effects and the better they will feel. This topic, along with several others, is typically addressed during the training and certification period that occurs shortly after being hired by a facility.