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Kidney Dialysis and Transplants
Kidney failure used to be life threatening. Now
the use of dialysis machines has improved a
patient's chances of survival or at least keep
them alive until a suitable donor can be found
so that a transplant can occur. The new
kidney is usually placed into the patient's
groin and connected up to the normal blood
vessels…read more

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A major problem with a kidney transplant is
that it may be rejected by the patient's own
immune system. Every person's cells have
different antigens on their surfaces and so
can be recognised as foreign when inside
another body.
· It is important that there is a close tissue
match between the donor and the recipient…read more

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Kidney rejection is less likely if the donor is a
close relative and even better is the people
involved are identical twins. The recipient will
also be treated with immunosuppressant drugs
and these will probably have to be taken for the
rest of their life
A major problem is the lack of suitable donors.
Many transplants are taken from accident
victims but permission still has to be given by
relatives before the operation can take place.
Carrying a donor card always helps…read more

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Dialysis
When a person's kidneys are failing, a major problem
is the build up of toxins such as urea and an upset
to the water and salt balance of the body. A dialysis
machine can be used to ensure these things do not
happen and also to make sure useful things like
glucose are not lost from the blood
In the process of dialysis, the person's blood leaves
the body and flows between partially permeable
membranes. On the other side of the membranes is
the dialysis fluid which has the same concentration
of useful substances as the blood. Unwanted
substances pass out of the blood by diffusion.…read more

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The whole process of dialysis is dependant upon the
maintenance of concentration gradients of the various
solutes. This ensures that diffusion can occur. There is never
any movement by active transport
· Dialysis must be carried out at regular intervals and so there
are some disadvantages: The patient may need to be
connected to the machine for several hours at a time and
this may be inconvenient
· The patient has to follow a carefully controlled diet to
ensure that certain substances do not build up quickly.
Controlling the concentration of the solutes does not
become more difficult with time and so a transplant may
eventually be the only solution…read more

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