Five Deadly Dangers Of Dialysis

Monday, 9th February 2009

CLICK HERE for a Free Utah personal injury case evaluation and get two valuable personal injury ebooks whether we take your case or not.

By Rex Bush

One of the life saving miracles of modern medicine is machinery that cleans the blood of impurities.  In medicine, dialysis is primarily used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney function due to kidney failure.

Dialysis may be used for patients who have either temporarily, or permanently lost their kidney function.

While life-saving, dialysis can also pose risks of injury and death to some users.


Unfortunately, some bodies don’t react well to the use of an artificial kidney (dialysis machine).

“First Use Syndrome” is a rare but severe anaphylactic reaction to the artificial kidney. Its symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath, back pain, chest pain, or sudden death.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms after your first treatment tell the dialysis tech or call your doctor immediately as First Use Syndrome can cause sudden death.   For more information on this syndrome see the Wikipedia article on  Hemodialysis.


According to Dr. David Fowler, chief medical examiner of the state of Maryland, nearly two dozen kidney dialysis patients in Maryland bled to death during the period 2000-2007.  The majority of the 22 deaths happened while patients were at home alone and started bleeding, reported Fowler.

An alert from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Health Care Quality explains why this occurs.  “For patients with kidney failure, mechanically cleansing the blood outside the body three times a week is the only way the can stay alive.  However, the long-term access site needed to draw and return blood to the body can weaken and fail.”


An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a picture taking device similar to an x-ray.  MRIs can see things that can’t be seen with ordinary x-rays.

Sometimes even an ordinary MRI is not enough and a special process is required to make abnormalities visible.   A liquid, known as a “contrast agent” is injected into the blood stream.  This creates contrast on the MRI picture which makes visible certain abnormalities.

The contrast agent is then filtered out of the body through the kidneys.  However, for dialysis patients and others with kidney failure the kidneys don’t remove the contrast agent fast enough and the toxic contrast agent can poison the body.

Gadolinium is a rare metal which is used in some contrast agents.  Recently, doctors have discovered that it has a rare and painful side effect known as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis.

Initial symptoms of the disease include high blood pressure, muscle weakness and thick hardened skin. With time victims may suffer pain, burning and itching in affected areas. With more time, victims may experience stiffness in skin and joints which completely immobilizes them. Some suffer death.

For more info on NSF read the following ezine article MRI Health Risk – Fatal, Incurable Illness


Yes, its true, once you have started dialysis you must be very careful if you choose to opt out of this treatment.  According to the Renal Unit of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Scotland, “for patients already on dialysis, surveys in several countries have shown that stopping dialysis is quite a common cause of death.”  However, these are almost always people who have developed other serious illnesses after starting dialysis.


Clean your access before and after treatments.  Avoid sleeping on the arm of your access as this could cause clotting which would need to be cleaned out before you could get a treatment.  If you have a catheter place, keep the bandage dry, germs love dark, moist places.

Acknowledgements to the dialysis techs at Fresenius Medical Care in Bad Homburg, Germany and to the Renal Unit of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Scotland

Rex Bush is founder of Bush Law Firm near Salt Lake City, Utah where he handles personal injury cases in Utah and throughout the United States and Canada. For more information on personal injury issues visit his website: Utah Injury Attorney


Our Commitment

Bush Law Firm provides a unique commitment to you!

Learn More

Free Evaluation

Get a free, no-obligation evaluation to learn if you have a case.

Free Evaluation


Mr. Bush has given me consideration and respect. I would return to him on any new need. - D.H.


Contact Us

If you have any questions or comments, please Contact Us.

Contact Us