Colourblindness and home hemo

As some of you know, I’m entering week 6 of my home hemo training.

One possible difficulty is that, while not totally colourblind (ie. I don’t see only greys and black), I have severely colour deficient vision. I see many different colours as only different shades of the same colour, or different intensities of colour). I’m training to do hemo alone, but I won’t actually be alone at home. Any other colourblind homers out there?

Some potential problems if I had to do it alone:

[ul]- When testing the water supply from the carbon filters, it’s very difficult to see the blue ring on the test strip unless it were to be very dark (which it has never been so far). Sometimes there appears to be a very faint ring, and when that happens, I retest it to be absolutely sure.

  • When testing the R/O after Renalin disinfection, it’s very hard to tell if there is colour on the test strip, unless it’s fairly obviously darker.

  • When testing the dialysis machine after chemical disinfection, same problem.

  • In terms of the actual dialysis, I’m a little concerned that I would not be able to tell by looking at the bloodlines if my blood were hemolyzed or too dark to return. However, I can see when warning and other lights are on and off, so that’s not a problem.[/ul]

As I said, I do have a non-colourblind wife at home, so I should manage. However, just like the world is designed for right handers and people of a certain height, it’s also designed for people with normal colour vision. My nephrologist isn’t concerned about it as long as I can function despite it, but I suspect the nurses are a little.

I wonder how the NxStage, Aksys and other machines/systems are with regard to colourblindness?


I would suspect the NxStage would be better as it doesn’t require water so there would be no risk there. However, you cannot do nocturnal with the NxStage.

Do you live alone?? If not could the person simply verify the color on the strips?? I know with the bleach, I always have to rinse an extra 3 minutes or so, so I would bet that doing an entire extra 10 minute rinse would remove any chance of bleach left in the system. With the renalin I’m not sure. I’ve just gotten new strips that are supposed to be specifically for the renalin and show up darker but I haven’t tried them yet (was using the bleach strips).

With regard to your blood, I was told it would look clumpy which you might be able to detect. On the positive side my nurses with a combined 30+ years of experience had never seen this happen, so I don’t think the risk is high.

Nocturnal on NxSTage is doeable…all that is needed is an external heparin pump…I asked this at my clinic and was given the okay to participate doing it. However, my schedules kinda don’t fit with this therapy option…perhaps some of you can do it…

I’m color blind - I wanted to be a commercial pilot but couldn’t pass the medical exam because of that test where you are suppose to see numbers in a pattern of color dots. It isn’t that I can’t differentiate color it’s more like color differences don’t register. This has impacted my use of the Aksys resulting in missed treatments.

After each treatment on the Aksys you need to insert new acid and bicarb concentrate bottles so the machine can prepare for the next day’s treatment. The bottles are color coded magenta and blue, as are the ports they fit into. I can see they are different colors and I can match the colors to their port but if I’m tired and not focusing the colors sometimes do not register.

I’ve switched the placement and even after repeatedly looking at the bottles not been able to “see” the mistake. This then causes the machine to have to stop it’s preparation routine and go back to step one – once new bottles are correctly inserted. This is embarrassing and each time it has happened (about once a year) I am sure it will be the last time but alas it happened a couple weeks ago.

Other color blind issues can be avoided by thinking in other terms. For instance I think about the blood path way – out from the arterial to the blood pump through the drip chamber to the venous – rather than matching red port to red connector/blue to blue. As far as hemolysis that has happened once in 15 years – when I was incenter the heparin was not correctly inserted in the pump. I kept getting alarms and finally realized the tubing looked darker than it should but I was the one who “saw” it not the color seeing staff.

With the chlorine test strips I can see color shift, especially easily when I compare the strip to the color chart on the bottle. I assured myself that I could see the color shift by holding the test strip under the tap – it was very clear.

Hi y’all,

Color blindness to some degree is pretty common in men (less so in women)–although apparently not among dialysis equipment engineers. :wink:

I wonder if this problem might be solved at the company level by putting a pattern AND a color? Maybe a pattern IN color? E.g., triangles on one, and cross-hatched lines on the other. That way, it wouldn’t make any difference if you could see colors for hooking up the bottles to the lines.

Something like that could possibly be done with test strips, but that might be more difficult.

One thing that I could do that would help is to light the machine better. Where I have to insert the bottles is on the shadowed side of the machine. The colors are much easier for me to see/notice when there is good light - I should invest in a bit more lighting.