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Malfunctiong of the kidneys can lead to accumalation of urea and other toxic substances, leading to kidney failure. In such patients toxic urea can be removed from the blood by a process called haemodialysis. A dialyzing machine or an artificial kidney is connected to the patient’s body. A dialyzing machine consists of a long cellulose tube surrounded by the dialysing fluid in a water bath. The patient’s blood is drawn from a conveinent artery and pumped into the dialysing unit after adding an anticoagulant like heparin. The tiny pores in the dialysis tube allows small molecules such as glucose, salts and urea to enter into the water bath, whereas blood cells and protein molecules do not enter these pores.
This stage is similar to the filtration process in the glomerulus. The dialysing liquid in the water bath consists of solution of salt and sugar in correct proportion in order to prevent loss of glucose and essential salts from the blood. The cleared blood is then pumped back to the body through a vein.
It is the ultimate method for correction of acute renal failures. This involves transfer of healthy kidney from one person (donor) to another person with kidney failure. The donated kidney may be taken from a healthy person who is declared brain dead or from sibling or close relatives to minimise the chances of rejection by the immune system of the host. Immunosuppressive drugs are usually administered to the patient to avoid tissue rejection.
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