LARRY MULVEHILL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LARRY MULVEHILL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Elderly man undergoing renal dialysis on a kidney machine. The artificial kidney machine (dialyser) uses the principle of haemodialysis to remove waste materials from the bloodstream of a person whose kidneys function insufficiently. A stream of blood from an artery is circulated through the machine on one side of a semi-permeable membrane, while a solution of comparable electrolytic concentration circulates on the other side. Water & waste products pass across the membrane but blood cells & proteins are too large to do so. Purified blood is returned to the body through a vein.
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