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Dialysis machine, London, England, 1975-1980

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Kidney disease can affect anybody of any age. People of South Asian or African-Caribbean origin are three-to-five times likelier to experience kidney disease than Caucasians. Diabetes is the single largest cause of kidney failure in the UK. Waste products cannot be removed from the blood when a person’s kidneys fail. Serious illness inevitably follows. Dialysis is one way to treat the condition. Dutch physician Wilhelm Kolff developed a treatment during the Second World War despite the difficulties of working in occupied Holland. Dialysis machines mimic the functions of the kidneys. Blood is taken through a semi-porous membrane. Waste products such as urea are removed through filtration. The first kidney machine used sausage skins as membranes. This dialysis machine was donated to the Churchill Hospital, Oxford by its maker, Lucas Medical Equipment Limited.

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    Glossary: kidney dialysis machine

    A machine used to artificially replicate the function of the kidneys.

    Glossary: kidney failure

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