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A coffee cup-sized implant that mimics the functions of the human kidney could be a life-saving option for patients with chronic kidney disease.
The implant is expected to begin trials later this year and if successful, it could be available within a few years, saving patients from dialysis or needing a transplant —there are currently 30,000 people in the UK having dialysis, and 5,000 on the waiting list for a donor kidney.
Britons - Kidney - Disease - Lifetime - Half
Around one in eight Britons will develop chronic kidney disease in their lifetime, with half of all over-75s suffering it to some degree. It is often caused by poorly controlled diabetes or high blood pressure.
Healthy kidneys remove toxins from the blood, control the body’s fluid balance and make hormones which help control blood pressure, red blood cell production and keep bones healthy.
Kidney - Failure - Organ - Ability - Things
Kidney failure is where the organ’s ability to do these things falls below 15 per cent of its normal capacity, causing toxins to build up in the blood and water to gather in the lungs — with potentially fatal consequences.
The most effective treatment is a transplant, but demand for organs far outstrips supply.
Option - Dialysis - Machine - Function - Kidneys
The only other option is dialysis, where a machine takes over the function of diseased kidneys to clean the blood of waste, salts and excess fluid — without dialysis, these could build up to fatal levels.
Dialysis can be inconvenient as people usually go to hospital for treatment, typically three sessions a week, for three to four hours at a time. Dialysis is also associated with fatigue and depression, can remove too many nutrients from the blood and only works while patients are connected to the machine.
Idea - Kidney - Filters - Body - Problems
The idea with the artificial kidney is that it continuously filters blood inside the body and avoids these problems — researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have developed it over...
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