JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN GREIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Kidney machine. Attended by a doctor, a woman receives dialysis treatment with a kidney machine (haemodialysis). Plastic tubing takes blood from her arm into a vertical tube (centre right, left of doctor), where a special filter cleans the blood. Haemodialysis is needed when a patient's kidneys fail to do their natural job of removing waste, toxins and excess water from the blood. It takes 2-6 hours and is carried out several times a week. Because dialysis invariably leads to complications in the long run, such as anaemia, infections and weakening of the bones, a better treatment for patients with permanently damaged kidneys is a transplant.
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