Kidney Disease and Dialysis | Health | Biology | FuseSchool

Click here to see more videos: CREDITS Animation & Design: Reshenda Wakefield Narration: Dale Bennett Script: Cheam Tung Shaun (Sevenoaks School) Meet the kidneys. Those fist-sized organs that are shaped like beans. They are kind and hardworking organs located in your upper abdominal area, attached to the back of the abdominal cavity on either side of the vertebral column. Your kidneys have 4 important roles. So, luckily, we have two of them! 1. Regulate water 2. Remove waste products 3. Balance minerals 4. Produce hormones They are essential for excretion, cleaning your blood every day as it passes through them, by removing urea and other chemicals However, sometimes your kidneys may fall sick. This may be self-inflicted, such as drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or taking drugs. Or it might occur as a result of other illnesses, such as diabetes or experiencing severe injury that leads to a bacterial infection. This can cause kidney failure, which is when your kidney cannot function properly anymore, leading to a build-up of waste products in your body. As you can imagine, these waste products are dangerous, and them staying in your body for too long can cause serious damage. To help relieve the kidneys of this duty, patients can undergo dialysis for about four hours, three times a week. So, what happens during dialysis? Patients sit in chairs much like lounge chair. A needle is inserted into the patient’s vein, and untreated blood starts flowing into the dialysis unit. Let’s follow this blood to see how it gets cleaned: • A pump pushes the blood through the dialysis tubing, which is partially permeable to ensure that large particles like blood cells and proteins cannot leave the tubing. • The tubing is suspended in dialysis fluid or dialysate. • Dialysis fluid is a special solution of pure water, electrolytes, and salts. It contains no urea or waste products. • No waste in the dialysis fluid means as the blood flows through the tubing a concentration gradient is created, allowing waste products to be removed from the blood and into the dialysis fluid by diffusion. • The dialysis fluid also contains electrolytes and salts to help correct any other imbalances in the blood, that may have arisen from the kidney failure. Also making use of concentration gradients and diffusion. • Sometimes glucose is also included in the dialysis fluid, either to remove excess fluid from the blood or to provide the blood with more glucose if it’s lacking. • Once the blood is thoroughly filtered and cleaned, it returns to the patient through their artery. • The used dialysis fluid is then disposed of. While dialysis can replace the work of a failed kidney, it can very uncomfortable and time-consuming. For this reason, some people instead opt for Kidney Transplants. However, while these prove to be a much better long-term solution, as you will not have to eat a restricted diet or experience any discomfort, they tend to be very expensive. And finding a matching donor tends to be very difficult. Even if both conditions are met, you still might be at the risk of your body tissues rejecting the transplanted kidney, which will require you to take immunosuppressive drugs. So, remember to take good care of your kidneys as they help keep your body clean and healthy! VISIT us at, where all of our videos are carefully organised into topics and specific orders, and to see what else we have on offer. Comment, like and share with other learners. You can both ask and answer questions, and teachers will get back to you. These videos can be used in a flipped classroom model or as a revision aid. Access a deeper Learning Experience in the FuseSchool platform and app: This Open Educational Resource is free of charge, under a Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC ( View License Deed: ). You are allowed to download the video for nonprofit, educational use. If you would like to modify the video, please contact us:

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