Laboratory Tests and Blood Levels for Dialysis Patients

Dialysis patients are required to take monthly laboratory tests. This is to ensure proper monitoring of our body’s blood and chemistry levels. These tests are also used by doctors as reference on how patient’s respond to dialysis, if they are eating right, their responsiveness to EPO shots via their hemoglobin levels, and so on. I have been through this routine tests all my dialysis years and still going through with it. My lab test schedule for the month of May would be performed on my next dialysis session, this coming Thursday to be specific. My past blood test, since I started my treatment, were fairly okay. There are certain blood levels that dialysis patients and doctors use as reference and it’s quite different from the ones normal people use.

labtests

Let me state this as an example:

  • A normal person’s hemoglobin range: 12 – 14 grams per deciliter (g/dL)
  • A dialysis patient’s hemoglobin range: 10 – 12 grams per deciliter (g/dL)

To elaborate this further, I have prepared a list of the common laboratory tests that I take along with their acceptable ranges. The blood levels below are provided for your reference and are to be used as guidelines. Levels may vary upon individual differences or depending on the dialysis unit;s laboratory procedures. It is always advisable to talk to your doctor, nurse, and dietitian about your blood levels.

  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) : 60 – 110 mg/dL
  • Creatinine : 8.0 – 20.0 mg/dL
  • Potassium (K) : 3.5 – 5.0 mEq/L
  • Calcium (Ca) : 8.5 – 10.5 mg/dL
  • Blood Sugar (fasting) : 60 – 100 mg/dL
  • Blood Sugar : less than 140 mg/dL
  • Alkaline Phosphatase : 25 – 100 units/L
  • Phosphorus (P) : 2.3 – 4.7 mg/dL
  • Sodium (Na) : 135 – 145 mEq/L
  • Albumin : 3.8 – 5.5 gm/dL
  • Total Protein : 6.0 – 8.0 gm/dL
  • Hematocrit (HCT) : 33% – 36%
  • Hemoglobin (Hgb) : 10 – 12 gm/dL

Basically, through this monthly lab exams, a dialysis patient, doctor, nurse, and dialysis unit’s medical staff can monitor the patient’s progress while undergoing treatment. For me that has been going through with it for quite a long time now, and for other’s as well, it may sound routinely boring. But I hope this article may serve as reminder on how vital this monthly blood tests are to a dialysis patient.

Julius

Julius is a blogger and a freelance graphics artist undergoing dialysis treatment since 2003. An enthusiastic person by nature, he loves to write, blog, cook, read books, tinker around, listen to rock music, and do research.

23 thoughts on “Laboratory Tests and Blood Levels for Dialysis Patients

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  6. Is it advisable to undergo dialysis if a person’s creatinine level is so high? My father’s creatinine level is 1200 and his doctor advised him to place the fistula as soon as possible so that in case of emergency, he will be ready for dialysis. His doctor said that his kidneys are already damaged without undergoing ultrasound to check if my father’s kidneys are deteriorating.

  7. My father has kidney problems now and has to get shots all the time. Growing up, I was fine with needles. Vaccines were a breeze for me whenever my father set up an appointment. Now..I’m petrified of needles. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not naive anymore, or if it’s just because I’m a wimp, but I hate getting my blood drawn or when it’s shot time.

    1. Yes we do. In fact, 80 percent of the patients in the clinic where I go for hemodialysis are diabetics. As far as I know, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, followed by hypertension, and so on and so forth. So better have your physician screen your kidneys from time to time and take measures to prevent kidney failure from setting in.

  8. Hi Sir, I will like to know more about the immuno test for dialysis patient. Take for example, a positive HCV patient was tested again with HCV few months later and it showed negative. What does that mean? Is it possible to get such result? But the lab was so sure prviouslt the patient is tested positive for HCV.

    Thanks.

    Sincere Regards,
    Rebecca
    p/s: May I get your reply by email? Thanks.

  9. Hi Sir,

    Just want to ask. I have a friend who is undergoing dialysis. At first, his anti-HCV result was negative. But recently after several dialysis procedure, he received a laboratory result with a positive anti-HCV (result is 2.4 S/CO. cutoff is 1.00). So he was dialysed in a machine for HCV positive patients. Any comment on this?

    1. It depends on what minerals or test. Like, for example, if you have high levels of creatinine, you tend to always feel sick. If it’s phosphorus you’re having abnormalities with, you’ll get itchy skin. If it’s calcium, you’ll have weaker bones.

      In my experience, though every lab tests should always be monitored accordingly, potassium is the one mineral I’m always vigilant about. Having too high or too low results on this mineral would affect your heart, for it regulates your heartbeat.

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