The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. A licensed healthcare professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.
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What is Home Hemodialysis (Home HD)
Hemodialysis removes wastes, toxins and excess fluid from your body with the use of a dialysis machine and other supplies. When hemodialysis is performed at home it is referred to as Home HD. During a hemodialysis treatment, blood is removed from your body and pumped by a machine through a dialyzer. All your blood is filtered through the dialyzer several times. After being filtered, the blood goes back into your body through tubing attaching to the other needle. As with in-center hemodialysis, access to blood is required. During your treatment, you sit or lie near your hemodialysis machine. You may require a partner to perform your Home HD treatment. Since your treatments occur in the convenience of your home, you can stay active by doing things like watching TV, spending time with family or friends, reading, talking or just enjoying the quiet time. Some patients choose to perform Home HD while they sleep at night. Home HD provides more flexibility on dialysis time, duration, and frequency compared to hemodialysis performed in an in-center environment.
How will Home Hemodialysis (Home HD) affect your lifestyle?
Home HD can give you the flexibility, comfort and control you want while preserving a dialysis routine. Exercise and most sports can be continued with approval from your doctor. You may have fewer dietary restrictions as compared to conventional HD, because you are dialyzing longer (e.g. nocturnal), and/or more frequently (e.g. short daily). (But be sure to follow the meal plan recommended by your dietitian!) Many patients also report an improvement in their quality of life1 while feeling more independent and knowledgeable about their dialysis with Home HD.
Home Hemodialysis Therapies
There is more than one type of Home HD therapy. You should discuss with your doctor which option is best for you. For the types listed below, you and a care partner will be trained on how to do the procedure safely and effectively. The training usually takes several weeks.
Conventional Home HD
Conventional Home HD is performed three times per week, for 3-4 hours each time, similar to the schedule you may have for in-center HD.
Short Daily Home HD
Short daily Home HD lasts approximately 1.5 to 3 hours and is performed about five to seven times per week. Because this treatment is performed more frequently, this type of therapy can help reduce symptoms like headaches, nausea, and cramping after treatment because less fluid is generally removed with each treatment.
Nocturnal Home HD
This type of dialysis consists of long, slower treatments while you sleep. Depending on what you and your doctor discuss, you may perform this dialysis three to seven nights per week, and treatments last about 6 to 8 hours. This type of therapy also reduces symptoms like headaches, nausea, and cramping after treatment because less fluid is generally removed with each treatment, and the fluid is removed more gradually over time than shorter dialysis treatments.