ONE of the major functions of an artificial kidney is the removal and excretion of nitrogenous waste products. A newer type of artificial kidney (REDY)1–3 converts the urea to ammonia by the action of encapsulated urease. For elimination, the toxic ammonia must then be adsorbed. This device uses a conventional type of dialyser with a recirculating regenerative dialysate system, which does not need large quantities of dialysis fluid. As the dialysis membrane will not filter bacteria, the system can be filled with a small volume of tap water. In practice, a multitude of unwanted waste materials are adsorbed on an activated carbon cartridge, and the urea is converted to ammonia which is then adsorbed on zirconium phosphate. The phosphate concentration of the dialysate is controlled with zirconium oxide; unfortunately the zirconium compounds are expensive, thus one of the major potential advantages of the system, low cost in use, is not achieved.
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