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How Does a Dialysis Machine Work?

 how does a dialysis machine work, dialysis technician programsA dialysis technician is responsible for operating and monitoring the dialysis machine used to remove waste from the blood of people whose kidneys are not functioning properly. But how does a dialysis machine work?

A person pursuing dialysis technology programs can learn the ins and outs of operating a dialysis machine through courses and hands-on training. Below is a brief overview of dialysis machines and what they do.

Functions of a Dialysis Machine

Step 1: After a patient is hooked up to the dialysis machine, the machine pumps blood from the blood tubing into the dialyzer, where the blood tubing is threaded through the blood pump. 

Step 2: The machine then mixes the dialysate, a fluid used to remove waste from the blood. The fluid is a combination of acidified solution, bicarbonate and purified water.

Step 3: Blood from the patient and the dialysate flow through the dialyzer without touching. Waste from the blood is filtered into the dialysate, then exits the dialysis machine and is disposed of.

Step 4: The clean, filtered blood is then pumped back into the patient.

Occasionally an alarm will sound on the dialysis machine. This just means the dialysis technician needs to check the machine. Reasons for an alarm may include problems with:

  • Blood flow
  • Temperature
  • Mixture of dialysate
  • Air in the blood tubing

Also, clotting tends to occur within the tubing as the blood is being pumped through. To prevent this from happening, the dialysis machine is attached to a syringe that periodically releases heparin into the blood. Heparin is a fluid that prevents blood clots, and the dialysis technician is responsible for programming the dialysis machine to release the proper amount during dialysis treatment.

To learn more about how a dialysis machine works, consider pursuing dialysis technology training at a school near you, where you can get hands-on experience in the operation of dialysis machines. Get started today.