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Laboratory Tests and Blood Levels for Dialysis Patients

Posted Nov 16 2009 10:02pm

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.


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.

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