VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II could undergo kidney dialysis to cleanse his body of drugs he is taking for Parkinson's disease, an Italian news agency said yesterday.
A Vatican official said the AGI news agency report "seemed correct" but did not elaborate.
Later, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls denied the pope was undergoing dialysis, in a statement to the ANSA news agency.
The AGI news report said doctors were considering dialysis not because the pope's health has worsened, but to prevent his kidneys from being overloaded by medicine. The agency said the pope's health has improved since he skipped a weekly general address Sept. 24 because of an intestinal problem.
The report said doctors began to consider dialysis after the 83-year-old pope visited a shrine Tuesday in Pompeii, in southern Italy. The pontiff would undergo the dialysis in his Vatican apartment, AGI said.
Participants at a papal address yesterday said the pope seemed alert and in relatively good form.
Dialysis is a method of artificially cleaning waste products, such as drug buildup, from the blood -- a job normally done by the kidneys. The technique takes the workload off the kidneys, and patients can live for many years on dialysis.
Dialysis is usually used when kidneys fail to do their job. But the news report gave no indication that the pope's kidneys had failed.