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Kidney Dialysis

The kidneys are a pair of small, bean-shaped organs located towards the back of the torso and behind the lower ribs. Although people are born with a pair of kidneys, the body can still function efficiently with just one healthy kidney.

The functions of the kidneys include:

-filtering wastes from the blood

-balancing the body's fluid content

-regulating blood pressure and red blood cell production

Disease, birth defects, or injury can damage the kidneys and leave them unable to function normally. When 85 to 90 percent of kidney function is lost, the term "end stage kidney failure" is used and dialysis is recommended. There are two types of dialysis, peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis.

The type of dialysis that replaces the work of the damaged kidneys by using an artificial kidney machine to filter blood is called hemodialysis.

During this procedure, blood is slowly taken from the body and passed through a special filter called a dialyzer, where wastes and extra fluids are removed. The cleaned and filtered blood is then returned to the body. Before hemodialysis can be performed, there needs to be adequate access to the vascular system. A special type of permanent arteriovenous access is therefore surgically created.

Hemodialysis is usually performed three times a week and can be used as an ongoing treatment until the kidneys resume their function or until the patient receives a kidney transplant.


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