The Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre in the city, where actor Rajinikanth has been admitted, on Thursday confirmed that the actor's condition necessitated advanced treatment, including haemodialysis.

Latha Rajinikanth, the actor's wife, accompanied by her son-in-law actor Dhanush, and S.Thanikachalam, Director, Cardiac Care Centre, SRMC, under whose care the actor has been admitted, met journalists at the hospital and gave details for the first time about the treatment protocol being followed to nurse the actor back to health.

This came on the heels of an announcement from the hospital on Wednesday night that Mr. Rajnikanth was shifted to the intensive care unit. Mrs. Rajinikanth said, “He is doing well now. It was an infection that created an imbalance, starting with the stomach. There is also a respiratory infection.”

The decision to move him to the ICU was prompted by the need to give him appropriate treatment in a completely sterile zone. Responding to a question if a trip abroad was being contemplated for medical treatment, she said it was “not necessary.”

Dr. Thanikachalam said the actor had a gastro-intestinal problem that led to the respiratory distress and the cause was identified. While initially it was thought that Mr. Rajinikanth would be fine with drugs and injections, on noticing the fluid accumulation in his body, the treatment was changed.

“Because of various consequences, there was fluid overload which necessitated advanced treatment, ultra filtration and haemodialysis,” the hospital release said.

Symptomatic relief

Apparently, these interventions have led to symptom relief, which doctors claimed was the first sign of recovery.

Haemodialysis is a procedure performed to assist the kidney carry out its tasks of filtering the blood and removing fluids from the body.

The blood will be passed through a dialysis machine which will clean it up and then, the pure blood is sent back to the patient.

Such a procedure may be necessary briefly when the kidney is acutely disturbed because of an injury or infection in the short run, more likely in this case. It would also be the pre-organ transplant option when kidney function persistently deteriorates over a long period of time and leads to shutdown of the organ.

On Thursday, Mr. Rajinikanth is said to have taken food — two idlis, a vada and plaintain stem rasam that his wife made. He also appeared cheerful, and even cracked jokes, Dr. Thanikachalam said. The laboratory parameters are also improving, and the hospital is hoping the superstar will be able to return to his private room in a couple of days.

Actor Dhanush thanked Mr. Rajinikanth's fans for their prayers and wishes, and urged them not to panic in response to a number of rumours being floated about the star's health.