Hemodialysis Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to stay on the hemodialysis machine for the whole time?

At MGH our goal is to try and keep you as healthy as possible while you are on hemodialysis. Many people ask the nurses if their dialysis time can be shortened. It is important that you stay for your full hemodialysis run. Hemodialysis treatments only replace a small part (less than 5 to 10%) of the normal function of your kidneys. This is far below the 100% of healthy kidney function. If you don’t get enough dialysis at each treatment run, your blood will hold on to more waste products and extra water. Over time you will feel unwell and it will affect your overall health.

Did you know?

If your hemodialysis treatment time is shortened by 10 minutes a run, this means losing out on 26 hours or 2 weeks of dialysis time in a year! In general, you will do better with more dialysis rather than less.

What if I feel too sick to go to hemodialysis?

If you feel sick, call the dialysis unit and obtain instructions from them. The reason you are not feeling well could be related to your kidney disease so coming to your all of your dialysis treatments is very important.

If you have a severe problem such as shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, unusual weakness, excessive bleeding, etc., call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

If you are admitted to a hospital, please ask the nurse in the unit to call the hemodialysis unit and keep us updated so we can arrange your next dialysis treatment.

Was this page helpful?