What is Hemodialysis?

Dialysis is the removal of waste products from the body, a function that is normally performed by the kidneys. If the kidneys have failed, toxins can be eliminated from fluids in the abdominal cavity (peritoneal dialysis), or dialysis can be done directly from the blood itself through the process of hemodialysis. Hemodialysis is more efficient and effective than peritoneal dialysis, and has become a regular routine for people with kidney failure. While this procedure has improved immensely over the last several decades, it’s still far from perfect.

Why Did My Doctor Recommend Hemodialysis?

The two most common conditions that cause kidney failure are high blood pressure and diabetes. When poorly managed or overlooked, hypertension and diabetes can cause permanent damage to the kidneys. If this occurs, the kidneys’ ability to filter and eliminate waste products from the blood diminishes, and eventually stops, leading to anemia, nerve problems, malnutrition, bone issues, and critically high blood pressure. However, if a strict treatment regimen is followed, hemodialysis can prolong life and delay complications related to kidney failure, such as heart problems, vision loss, and circulation difficulties.

How Does Hemodialysis Work?

In hemodialysis, a machine removes waste and excess fluid from your blood, since your kidneys are no longer able to do it. A vascular access port is surgically made, usually in the arm. From this area, two sets of needles and tubes are used – one removes the “dirty” blood from the body and processes it through the dialysis machine, and the other returns the “clean” blood into the circulatory system.

Dialysis is a slow process, and can take from three to five hours on the average. During the procedure, the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate must be monitored. Dialysis is usually required three times a week. Patients can undergo hemodialysis in the hospital, an outpatient clinic, or even at their own home in some circumstances.

What Are GranuFlo and NaturaLyte Used for in Hemodialysis?

GranuFlo and NaturaLyte are dialysates, or drugs used in the dialysis filtration process to remove waste from the blood. These dialysates are also designed to keep blood pH levels within a normal range. However, it has been reported that chemicals in GranuFlo and NaturaLyte can actually lead to dangerous bicarbonate levels and elevated pH values in the blood.

 What Are the Complications Associated with GranuFlo and NaturaLyte?

The abnormal blood alkalinity caused by GranuFlo and NaturaLyte has resulted in the following complications:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Oxygenation problems
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Cardiac failure
  • Death

Why Did the FDA Recall GranuFlo and NaturaLyte?

If GranuFlo and NaturaLyte products are mixed incorrectly, or given to the wrong patients, they can be deadly. It was later reported that Fresenius was aware of this danger, yet failed to warn the public. After the danger of bicarbonate overdose was exposed, the FDA issued a Class I recall of both GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, requiring Fresenius to provide better dosage guidelines and more extensive warnings about the potential dangers involved with its products.