Israeli medical officials say former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been transferred to the intensive care unit of a Tel Aviv hospital for kidney dialysis.

The 78-year-old former political leader has been in a coma for six months, since suffering a massive stroke on January 4.

A hospital spokesperson, Anat Dolev, said Mr. Sharon was taken to intensive care Wednesday so doctors could remove excess fluids that have accumulated in his body as a result of kidney failure.

Earlier in the week, hospital officials said that Mr. Sharon's condition had deteriorated, noting the accumulation of fluids and changes in his brain tissue.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.