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Former prime minister Ariel Sharon will soon be started on hemofiltration - a slow, continuous therapy for acute kidney failure - and is already being given antibiotics intravenously for a bacterial infection at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. The hospital said Wednesday that his condition has been "stable" during the past two days and that there is "no decline" in the condition of his brain.
Sharon, 78, who has been in a deep coma since January 4, has been treated at Sheba's respiratory rehabilitation intensive care unit since May 28. Earlier this week, he suffered edema (swelling due to accumulation of fluids) in various parts of his body and changes in his brain tissue.
Hemofiltration is similar to hemodialysis given to patients with permanent kidney failure. It is a continuous and daily treatment usually lasting between 12 to 24 hours. During hemofiltration, a patient's blood is passed through a set of tubing via a machine to a semi-permeable membrane filter that removes waste products and water.
Replacement fluid is added and the blood is returned to the patient. The membrane used in hemofiltration is much more porous than that used in hemodialysis, the process is slower and the fluid removal more gradual. Hemofiltration patients are usually bedbound and unconscious, with the acute renal failure precipitated by septic shock.
Sharon's sons Omri and Gilad have insisted that the hospital do all they can to save and prolong his life.