ALEX BARTEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALEX BARTEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Drug pump. Drug pump used in the treatment of sickle cell anaemia with the catheter visible under the skin (at top centre). The apparatus continuously pumps the drug desferrioxamine into a vein above the heart (the vena cava) through a Hickman catheter. This drug makes body iron soluble so that it can pass out of the body in urine. One of the treatments for sickle cell anaemia is blood transfusion. However, blood contains iron which the human body has no specific mechanism for excreting. If iron is allowed to accumulate, it will poison the patient. Iron can also be removed by bleeding but this remedy is inappropriate for an anaemia sufferer.
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