Here is how a dialysis machine typically works. The machine measures out a ratio of an acid solution, purified water, and a bicarbonate solution to mix with the patient’s blood. The blood and dialysate bath commingle. Once enough waste has been removed, the blood gets returned to the patient. A typical dialysis patient will get this treatment two or three times every week, for two or three hours every time.
Patients who suffer from End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and other kidney disorders can experience high blood acidity levels. The bicarbonate component of the dialysate bath helps normalize the blood’s pH to prevent health issues.
As most people learn in basic chemistry, acids drive pH down, while bases (like bicarbonate) drive pH up. Ideally, the blood’s pH level should be between 7.35 and 7.45. This is a very “neutral” pH level. If blood pH deviates too much from this ideal – or if a sudden change in pH levels occurs — the imbalance can change the body’s electrolyte chemistry in a way that can cause all kinds of havoc, including cardiac events and sudden death.
The Role of Acids (Like GranuFlo) in the Dialysis Process
The acid component of the dialysate bath plays critical roles. For instance, it helps to replenish vital nutrients, like calcium, sodium, chloride, and magnesium.
Different acid products can be used, including:
- Citric acid;
- Acetic acid;
- Sodium diacetate;
GranuFlo uses sodium diacetate. Why, and why might this choice matter?
We will explore the surprisingly counterintuitive chemistry of sodium diacetate in the next post. For now, if you need an evaluation of your GranuFlo case, please call Davis & Crump at 800-277-0300 or email us at email@example.com.