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RENAL SERVICES

DIALYSIS TERMS
Adequacy

A word used in the phrase: adequacy of dialysis. A measure in dialysis that indicates
if you are receiving the amount of dialysis necessary to help you live long and well.
There are two ways to measure (Kt/V and URR).

Anemia

A decrease in the number of red blood cells present in the blood, which can be due to
blood loss or a decrease production of red blood cells due to iron deficiency, poor
nutrition, or disease. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, and shortness
of breath on exertion.

Angioplasty

A medical procedure in which a balloon catheter is inserted into your vascular access
to improve the blood flow. This may be needed if you have a stenosis or clotted
access. This procedure takes place in the Radiology Department at a hospital.

Bruit

A French word meaning noise that is used to describe the sound that blood makes
when rushing through a blood vessel or dialysis access. A bruit can be heard with a
stethoscope or by holding your access against your ear. A bruit heard signifies that
blood is flowing through the access and that it is working. The absence of a bruit
should be reported to your dialysis center immediately.

BUN

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN). Combination of waste products (nitrogen and urea) in the
blood normally excreted by the kidneys.

Calcium

An element found in the body that is important for bone growth and formation, blood
clotting, nerve and muscle functioning and the activation of certain enzymes.

CAPD

(Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis). Daily self care dialysis treatment that
uses the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen) as the filter to cleanse the blood of
toxins and remove excess fluid from the body. Dialysate fluid is instilled into the
abdomen and left in the abdomen for several hours while patient does his daily
activities.

Catheter

A catheter is a tube inserted into a vein in your neck, chest, or leg near the groin for
Hemodialysis. It has two chambers to allow a two-way flow of blood. A catheter is
implanted in the abdomen for peritoneal dialysis.

CCPD

(Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis). Daily self care dialysis treatment that uses
the peritoneum as the filter to cleanse the blood of toxins and remove excess fluid
from the body. This type of dialysis uses a cycler machine to do many exchanges
while patient is sleeping.

Clearance

The rates that waste products in the blood are removed through dialysis expressed in
milliliters/minute.

Creatinine

One of the many waste products in the blood produced by normal tissue breakdown
and removed by the kidneys, or by dialysis in patients with renal failure.

Used with permission from the 5-Diamond Patient Safety Program of the Med-Atlantic Renal
Coalition ERD Network. For more information please see www.5diamondpatientsafety.org
PE 06035 (9/11) 1 of 2

To view: https://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/intranet/per/
To order: http://www.virginia.edu/uvaprint/

Dialysate

Solution containing water and chemicals (electrolytes) that passes through the
membrane in dialysis to remove excess fluids and wastes from the blood, also called
bath.

Dialysis

Cleansing the body of unwanted toxins, waste products and excess fluid by filtering
them from the blood.

Exchanges

In peritoneal dialysis this means draining out the used fluid and putting in fresh fluid.

ESRD

End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The stage of kidney damage that requires dialysis
or transplantation to maintain life. Another term for permanent kidney failure.

Fistula

The surgical joining of an artery and a vein so that the vein enlarges due to the flow
of arterial blood. A fistula is a type of access; also know as an arteriovenous fistula.

Graft

In dialysis, surgical placement of a material between an artery and vein to create a


circulatory access for Hemodialysis.

Hemodialysis Removal of excess fluids and waste products by passage of blood through an artificial
kidney.
KT/V

A measure that indicates how well waste products have been removed by the dialysis
treatment. K = dialyzer clearance. T = time. V = volume of water a patients body
contains. The formula is clearance multiplied by time, divided by volume.

Nephrologist Doctor specializing in kidney disorders.


Peritoneal

A form of dialysis in which the lining of the abdomen, the peritoneal membrane, acts
as a natural filter.

Phosphorus

An element necessary for normal body functions, especially bone formation.

Potassium

An element needed by the body for normal muscle, nerve function and cell
maintenance.

Sodium

An element found in the body that helps regulate the bodys fluid content.

Target
Weight

Also known as Dry Weight. It is your weight when excess fluid has
been removed.

Transplant

To transfer an organ, tissue, etc. from one person to another.

URR

Urea Reduction Ratio (URR). Percentage based on how much blood urea nitrogen
(BUN) was removed during a dialysis treatment. Indicates how effectively urea and
other waste products have been removed.

Vascular
Access

A pathway to the bloodstream. Accesses for Hemodialysis are


fistulas, grafts and catheter. Access to the peritoneal cavity for peritoneal dialysis is a
catheter.

References: MARC Health Literacy. http://www.esrdnet5.org/5DiamondHL.asp Stam, L. (2010)


100 Questions and answers. Core Curriculum for the Dialysis Technicians
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