Dialysis machines remove waste and excess water from blood. They primarily serve as artificial replacements for lost kidney function.
A typical dialysis machine. Image credit: Watlow
Dialysis machines mimic the kidneys' equilibrium function — the maintaining of acceptable water and mineral levels within the blood — using one of two means. Hemodialysis machines circulate blood outside the body and pass it through a semipermeable membrane which removes excess water and waste. During this process various solutions are mixed with the blood in order to remove specific contaminants or correct specific conditions. Peritoneal dialysis is performed within the body and uses the peritoneum — a membrane which covers most of the abdominal organs — as a natural filter for wastes and water. The wastes are diverted into an injected dialysate solution, which is then drained from the body after a specified time period.
The hemodialysis process; the peritoneal dialysis process.
Image credit: Aurora Healthcare | Renal Resource