Life-saving dialysis for people who have kidney problems can bring about its own risks. Although needed to help these patients filter their blood, the procedure itself can cause a variety of side effects that can affect the patient’s health.
Common side-effects can cause the patient to fall or have other problems after the procedure. Medical staff at dialysis centers need to be aware of these dangerous side effects to keep their patients safe.
Adverse Side Effects Related To Dialysis Treatments
Preparing and looking for possible side effects is one way that staff can protect their patients after dialysis. Although a patient may look fine on the exterior, internally several different complications may be going on, including overdoses of acetic acid or acetate that are used in dialysis. Some common side effects are:
- Hypotension or low blood pressure. This is the most common complication that occurs with dialysis. Due to ultrafiltration of the blood and a lack in the refilling of the cardiovascular system, the patient may become susceptible to low blood pressure that can make them dizzy and have loss of balance among other serious side effects.
- Hypoxemia. Another common complication with dialysis is hypoxemia or low oxygen in the blood and happens in 90% of patients. This can occur even when the patient is on a ventilator. Lack of oxygen can cause serious and even fatal side effects if left untreated.
- Cramps. Many patients undergoing dialysis can suffer from muscle cramps, especially towards the end of the procedure. This can limit their ability to move properly if not corrected.
FDA Recall of Dialysis Drugs
In addition to other concerns with dialysis treatments, there was also a Class 1 recall of the dialysis drugs GranuFlo and Naturalyte on March 29, 2012 by the FDA. These drugs have been used for dialysis and were found to increase bicarbonate levels that can lead to cardiovascular issues, heart attacks and even death. The maker of these drugs, Fresenius, has been accused of knowing about the health risks prior to the FDA recall yet not alerting medical practitioners or the public.
Preventing Dialysis Patient Falls
One common problem for patients on dialysis is the risk of falling and injuring themselves. This can happen during and after dialysis, as many of the complications previously listed will affect their balance and ability to walk. Medical staff needs to be aware of this risk, especially with patients who may already be at high risk for falls due to their age, mobility or other health issues.
- Environment. The area around the patient should be clear of obstacles and have a dry, non-slip floor. Making the rooms and hallways easy to walk in and navigate is important to preventing falls in general.
- Supervision. Patients have been known to become dizzy and fall from their chair or bed while having dialysis. There needs to be supervision to make sure the patients are not at risk of falling.
- Assistance. When the patient is leaving from dialysis, they may need assistance walking due to dizziness or muscle cramps. Using a walker or wheelchair along with staff assistance may be required.
Dialysis is an important procedure for people with kidney problems but it can cause severe problems above and beyond the kidney issues that it is designed to help. Any medical center that does dialysis needs to be aware of the risks and know how to make sure their patients are kept safe from further harm, including falls and other possible side effects.
Dialysis Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one suffered an injury during a dialysis procedure or shortly thereafter, our medical malpractice attorneys are interested in speaking with you. Our team has successfully represented individuals in cases against dialysis clinics and medical centers. Each case is indeed different and we are ready and able to get to work for you. We offer free, confidential consultations and never charge a fee without a recovery for you.
Resources for victims of dialysis injuries in Chicago, IL: