March 30, 2012

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is a very serious complication.  The kidney has a really important role which is to filter and clean the blood.  They kidneys filter out waste and excess water that may be present.  This waste comes from the food or from the breakdown of tissue.  If the kidneys stop functioning, the blood will not be clean and will become toxic.  In the modern world we live in now, procedures can be carried out in order to keep a person alive by cleaning his or her blood without the use of kidneys.  In order to do this the patient must have his blood filtered from a dialysis machine.  A person must be hooked up to this machine for several hours in order to clean the blood.  A long and expensive task that the kidneys would have done quicker, more efficiently, and for free.  But, not anyone can go and be hooked up to a dialysis machine.  Our veins have thin layers that would not be able to withstand numerous punctures and having a large amount of blood taken out.  Arteries are not superficial like veins and rather are deep.  This makes them hard to reach, especially since this will be needed every week.  To get the best of both vessels, a vascular surgeon constructs a fistula for the dialysis patient.  A fistula is a large blood vessel that is created by joining a vein and artery together.  By doing this the vein grows and becomes much stronger.  Additionally, the blood pressure increases.  The fistula is near the surface of the skin and is strong, and has good blood flow.  This makes for a viable vessel to withdraw large amounts of blood out of on a weekly basis.  A fistula will be able to withstand a great deal of punctures making it a great option.  These dialysis patients can truly appreciate the work kidneys do without us even thinking about it.

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