Renal Replacement Therapy

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Renal Replacement Therapy

One reason a patient may need to be admitted to critical care would be for something we call renal replacement therapy, also commonly called ‘filtration’. This is a treatment using a machine that effectively does most of the job of the kidneys for a period of time, similar to what many people call dialysis. It involves removing some blood, filtering out certain unwanted chemicals as well as removing some fluid, and then replacing the same blood back in a patient.

There are a number of reasons this might be required, including acute kidney failure, sepsis, a high level of potassium in the blood, or even certain poisonings or overdoses.

A line that we call a ‘vascath’ will need to be inserted that can remove the blood, and then return it to the patient. We typically insert these in a patients’ neck or groin.

The line is then connected to this machine which processes the blood and returns it back to the patient.

Some patients will require renal replacement therapy, ‘filtration’, for a short time only, others may need it for longer. The length of time required will depend on the reason it was needed in the first place, and on whether the patient has other significant health problems at the same time.

Renal replacement therapy on critical care can either serve as a short term treatment do allow the kidneys to recover from an acute illness, after which the kidneys resume their previous job, or as a bridge to receiving more long term therapy via dialysis.

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