Haemodialysis (dialysis in spoken language) is a method of removing waste products such as potassium and urea, as well as free water from the blood in case of renal failure. Haemodialysis is one of the three renal replacement therapies, the other two being renal transplant and peritoneal dialysis. Out of all therapies, haemodialysis is the most frequent treatment of patients with terminal renal failure. In haemodialysis, the blood is passed out of the body and pumped into a device which filters toxic substances from the blood. The cleaned blood is then returned to the patient.  In peritoneal dialysis, a liquid containing a special solution of glucose and salt is infused into the abdomen where it attracts toxic substances from the tissue. The liquid is subsequently drained from the body.

Doctors opt for dialysis when renal failure starts disrupting normal brain function (uremic encephalopathy), when the fibrous sac around the heart is inflamed (pericarditis), and when there is increased acidity in the blood (acidosis), and none of the mentioned diseases does not react to other treatment. Another reason for dialysis can also be heart failure and a very high concentration of potassium in the blood (hyperkalaemia).

Routine haemodialysis is conducted in an outpatient facility, either a hospital or another institution equipped to conduct haemodialysis. Haemodialysis in clinics is performed by internal medicine specialists, nephrologists, doctors with years of experience in clinical dialysis who have completed a course and nurses. Haemodialysis is very rarely conducted at home.

In order to improve the quality of life of patients undergoing dialysis, dialysis centres are opened in places / on islands where they live. It is not possible to ensure expert supervision of the mentioned specialist doctors on such places. Telemedicine services connect patients, health care professionals in remote dialysis centres and specialists in clinics where dialyses are conducted. Telemedicine services provided are emergency and regular ones, and include:

  • examination of dialysed patients and control of vital functions and weight (at least once a week),
  • control of fistulas (as necessary, at least once a month),
  • control of laboratory results and correction of parameters for dialysers (at least once every two months),
  • regular consultations (as necessary),
  • emergency consultations.

Most patients are dialysed three times a week, and the procedure lasts 4 hours on average.