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Key medical terms at a glance for further reading.

Is the sudden and temporary loss of kidney function. Acute renal failure can be caused by diminished blood supply to the kidneys, obstructed urine flow or traumatic damage to the kidneys caused by, for example, major
surgery or a car crash. Acute renal failure is treated with continuous renal replacement therapy, usually at the intensive care unit in a hospital.

Is a blood vessel that is made by surgically sewing together an artery and a vein (often in the forearm) to create the rapid blood flow needed for efficient hemodialysis treatment. It is also commonly called a native fistula.

Is the pressure exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels, especially the arteries. Too high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke and is treated by blood pressure medication (antihypertensives).

A flexible plastic tube for insertion into a body cavity or vessels used to allow the passage of fluids.

Is the slow and progressive loss of kidney function over several years, resulting in permanent kidney failure. People with permanent kidney failure need dialysis or a kidney transplant to replace the work of the diseased kidneys.

Is a disease in which abnormal carbohydrate metabolism causes high glucose levels and can lead to kidney failure. About 20% of all patients with diabetes develop kidney failure.

Is an artificial medical treatment process by which the toxic waste products and water are removed from a patient’s body.

Is the filtering unit of a dialysis machine. The dialyzer removes waste products and excess water from the blood.


Is a commonly used abbreviation for erythropoietin.

Is a hormone produced by healthy kidneys that tells the bone marrow to produce erythrocytes (red blood cells). Synthetic hormone versions are available for kidney patients. Lack of this hormone may lead to renal anemia.

Is the substance in erythrocytes which carries oxygen around the body. The iron contained in haemoglobin is responsible for the red color of the blood. A decreased level of haemoglobin is known as anemia. Anemia causes tiredness, shortness of breath and paleness.

Means replacement of a diseased kidney with a healthy one. A kidney transplant may come from a living donor, usually a relative, or from someone who just died.

Is a reduction in the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood due to acute or chronic kidney failure. Loss of the kidney function results in a lack of erythropoietin, whereby not enough new red blood cells are produced.

Is the place where a team of healthcare professionals treat kidney patients who need dialysis.

Is a method of gaining entry to the bloodstream so that dialysis can be performed. AV fistula is one form of access for hemodialysis.

Is an access that is made by connecting one end of a piece of artificial vein to the patient's vein and the other end to the patient's artery. The graft is a larger vessel that allows the rapid blood flow needed for efficient
hemodialysis. It is commonly called a graft.


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