When our two kidneys no longer filter the blood properly, we suffer from kidney failure. This disease is called “acute” if the dysfunction is transient and reversible. If it is irreversible, without the possibility of cure, the disease is called “chronic”. In this case, however, it can be stabilized.
Chronic renal failure is induced by pathologies (diabetes, hypertension…) that gradually destroy kidney structures. It has five stages. At the terminal stage, the filtration capacity of the kidneys is less than 15% of their normal capacity: it is then necessary to replace the renal function. This is what dialysis and kidney transplantation do. These two modes of treatment, which extend life expectancy, have revolutionized the management of chronic kidney disease since the 1960s.
Dialysis replaces the purifying function of kidneys. It therefore filters the blood to rid it of its waste and excess water, according to several techniques: