Secrets and blood pumps

I am going to let you all non dialysis peeps in on a little secret, actually it isn’t a secret. 

If anyone were to ask, we would tell you, but no one ever asks, so I am going to tell you anyway.


When we call you 911 for a patient who wasn’t breathing, had a pulse but was slow and irregular, released her bowels and clotted her dialyzer.

It’s serious.

Very, very serious.  Just because when you arrive and she is breathing, her pulse has quickened and some color has come back in her cheeks and she can answer simple questions albeit a little slower then normal.  Don’t argue with us because you don’t want to transport 8 miles down the freeway.

When a patient clots a dialyzer, it isn’t instant, you have warnings, if it is truly instant, it’s really bad.

It means vital organ’s are failing. 

It means light and sirens, it means transport.  Okay?

We really do know what we are doing.


~ by Kim on June 16, 2008.

3 Responses to “Secrets and blood pumps”

  1. Wow, it was very difficult to see where to leave my reply.

    A friend of mine was taken to the hospital by ambulance. It’s a good thing that she was conscious because she had to give them directions. True story!

  2. So, when you clot the dialyzer (which I’ve done on occasion) and it’s gradual, not that big a deal, but when it happens suddenly and without warning, it’s bad? Even though I’m an RN, I’m not up on dialysis professionaly (although I am as a former patient).

  3. Jeff, both scenarios are big deals, because, as you know, dialysis patients are anemic, losing any blood is never good. And we don’t return clotted blood for obvious reasons. When it instantly clots it means there is no blood pressure to circulate the blood, which of course is very very bad.

    When a dialyzer clots there are warnings, like alarms, Transmembrane Pressure alarms which clue us into something is not “flowing” correctly.

    Usually a dialyzer clots due to: access problems like a narrowing in the fistula or graft or bad positioning of catheter or fibrin at the end of the catheter. Or not enough anti-coagulent that coats the dialyzer membrane.

    Instant clotting is never ever good,

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