ARTIFICIAL KIDNEY - Overview , Facts, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis


An artificial kidney is a special filter that substitutes the kidney in cleaning the blood. It is used by patients who undergo hemodialysis due to kidney failure. Hemodialysis is a type of dialysis treatment that involves the use of machines and equipment to remove waste products and fluids from the blood. 


In hemodialysis, the patient has limited mobility due to the use of stationary machines. There have been numerous efforts focused on developing a device that can improve the patient’s autonomy. However, such a device is not yet available and is still in the development process. Additionally, several designs are being worked on. Some of these designs are:

  • Wearable Artificial Kidney (WAK). This has been a goal by researchers ever since dialysis treatments were discovered. They aim to create a lightweight and portable filter that can imitate the functions of the human kidney. The designed prototype is about 10 pounds in weight and is powered by a battery. It has a pumping system installed with sensors that functions like a hemodialysis machine. 
  • Implantable Artificial Kidney. This design is about placing a device inside the patient’s body. it is a bio-hybrid device implanted inside the human body which can fully imitate kidney functions like removing waste. With this, the patient will no longer need to undergo dialysis treatment. The key component for this design is silicon nanotechnology. Researchers aim to create a device that does not interfere with the immune response and can operate naturally with the blood flow.


The need for artificial kidneys is due to kidney failure. Symptoms of kidney failure may include:

  • Itching
  • Muscle cramps
  • Too much or not enough urine
  • Swelling in feet and ankles
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite


Kidney problems are hard to detect before kidney failure. This is mainly because the symptoms can be mistaken as common health issues. To properly diagnose this, the doctor will review the medical history of the patient as well as the present symptoms. Tests in the urine, blood, and kidney tissue may also be done to come up with an accurate diagnosis.


Artificial kidneys available today require the use of stationary hemodialysis machines. The development of portable devices is still being researched and developed.

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