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Hemodialysis is a treatment for kidney (renal) failure, a condition in which your kidney function falls below 10-15 percent of its normal level. In hemodialysis, a machine and filter do the work of your kidneys, removing waste and other materials from your blood. Although this lifesaving procedure requires a time commitment, you can live a productive and fulfilling life while on hemodialysis.

In hemodialysis, blood flows out of your body through tubing and into a filter called a dialyzer (artificial kidney), which removes waste, sodium and fluid. The blood then reenters your body through another set of tubes. The hemodialysis machine removes waste from the dialyzer and monitors your blood flow.

You receive hemodialysis on a regular schedule, typically three times a week. Each session lasts three to five hours. Hemodialysis is available in Indiana University Health hospitals, outpatient centers and at home.

Before you can receive hemodialysis, you need an “access,” meaning an entry and exit point for your blood. We create the access through minor surgery several weeks or months before you begin dialysis so that you have time to heal.

At IU Health, we offer a full spectrum of dialysis choices. We explain the procedure and your options at every step so that you are comfortable with your treatment. Our goal is for you to lead an active, fulfilling lifestyle while on hemodialysis.

Hemodialysis is temporary or long-term. If you have suffered a kidney injury, you may need hemodialysis only until your organ recovers. If you are waiting for a kidney transplant, you might receive hemodialysis until a kidney becomes available. If a kidney transplant is not appropriate for you or you choose not to receive one, you may receive hemodialysis as an ongoing kidney-replacement therapy.

You and your family members are the most important members of your healthcare team. We offer the most advanced treatment options and the information to decide what is best for you. When you begin dialysis, you still need to take medicines and follow a diet that works with your treatment.

Through our close relationship with Indiana University School of Medicine, we offer the most innovative options for replacing your kidney function. We also take an active role in training new generations of physicians, and constantly seek ways to provide even better care.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Hemodialysis Treatment Information

When you begin hemodialysis, you have several options, including:

Hemodialysis Locations & Physicians

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Hemodialysis Support Services

The more you know about dialysis, the more comfortable you will be when you begin the treatment. Learn more at these sites: