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    The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs which lie on each side of the spinal column at the level of the navel.  Life cannot exist without kidney function; however, a person can live with as little as 1/10 of one kidney remaining.  Healthy kidneys remove waste products from the blood, control internal body chemistry, regulate blood pressure and the amount of water in the body.  There are many causes of kidney failure ranging from degenerative diseases to accidental trauma and injuries.  When failure ensues the person will certainly die without a transplant or an artificial kidney functioning as a filtering device to perform the process called dialysis.  The treatments are performed by connecting the patient to the artificial kidney via two needles and tubes in a large vien.  The patient's blood is removed a little at a time, filtered and replaced.  The process takes place three days a week in 3-4 hour sessions.  Patients can also perform dialysis at home using their own stomach lining as a filter.  This is accomplished by inserting a tube into the abdomen, running fluid into the cavity surrounding the stomach, then draining it off again.  This process must be repeated daily.