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Q: How can I tell if my vascular access port is working well and I am getting enough dialysis at my Carlisle kidney dialysis center?

Hemodialysis is a type of kidney dialysis. It involves the filtering of blood using a vascular access port, a dialysis machine, an artificial kidney (dialyzer) and a special washing solution called dialysate. 

Your dialysis care team should check your vascular access at least once a month to measure the blood flow and pressure at the access site. Things like infection, clotting and reduced blood flow affect the performance of your port. If your vascular access is not working well, it can reduce the amount of blood cleansed during hemodialysis. 

To ensure that you are getting the right amount of dialysis, your dialysis health care team will also periodically measure the adequacy of your hemodialysis treatment. They do this by sampling the levels of urea in your blood before and after your dialysis treatment and comparing the two. 

Dialysis adequacy is measured using two methods: 

  • URR or reduction in urea as a result of dialysis is a measure of how effectively dialysis has removed waste products from the blood. URR should average 65 percent or less.
  • Kt/V (pronounced “kay tee over vee”) is another measure of dialysis adequacy. It is similar to URR, but more accurate because it considers the impact of urea generated by the body during dialysis as well as urea removed along with excess fluid during dialysis. While Kt/V values may vary, they should average 1.2 or higher. 

Getting the right amount of dialysis is important. It improves your overall health, makes you feel better and keeps you out of the hospital. Recently, two washing solution component products used in hemodialysis were recalled. They contained misleading product labeling that could potentially cause fatal dosing errors. The products—GranuFlo and NaturaLyte—are manufactured by Fresenius Medical Care North America.

If you or a loved one received hemodialysis treatment using one of these products between January 1, 2008, and June 30, 2012, and suffered a cardiac arrest during or shortly afterwards, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a GranuFlo kidney dialysis attorney at Schmidt Kramer at (717) 888-8888 for details.