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What Is Dialysis?

Dialysis, in chemistry, a term for the process by which colloids can be separated from ionic substances, such as salt or hydrochloric acid. If a solution of a salt is placed in a dialyser, a vessel provided with a bottom made of synthetic or animal membrane, and the dialyser placed in a larger vessel of water, the salt permeates the membrane, whereas a similar solution of colloid does not diffuse, remaining intact in the original solution.

Dialysis is also important in medicine: blood is filtered through a semi-permeable membrane in order to remove waste products.

When the kidneys are damaged and unable to perform their normal task of filtering the blood and excreting the waste products as urine, this function can be performed by two types of dialysis.

In peritorleai dialysis, warmed dialysis fluid is cycled into the peritoneal cavity, in which the abdominal organs and intestines lie, then out through the peritoneum, the membrane covering these organs, which acts as the semi-permeable membrane. Haemodialysis is done by connecting the patient's blood vessel to an artificial kidney so that the blood flows through the machine, is dialysed, then flows back into an artery and vein, which have been joined together surgically. It is used when the kidneys have failed beyond hope of recovery or when peritoneal dialysis is too difficult.

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