Hello wearable kidney, goodbye dialysis machine

Aug 20, 2009

Researchers are developing a Wearable Artificial Kidney for dialysis patients, reports an upcoming paper in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN). "Our vision of a technological breakthrough has materialized in the form of a Wearable Artificial Kidney, which provides continuous dialysis 24 hours a day, seven days a week," comments Victor Gura, MD (David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA).

The device—essentially a miniaturized dialysis machine, worn as a belt—weighs about 10 pounds and is powered by two nine-volt batteries. Because patients don't need to be hooked up to a full-size dialysis machine, they are free to walk, work, or sleep while undergoing continuous, gentle dialysis that more closely approximates normal kidney function.

Such a device could lead to a "paradigm change" in the treatment of dialysis patients. Despite enduring long hours on dialysis every week—with major limitations in activities, diet, and other areas of life—dialysis patients face high rates of hospitalization and death. The U.S. dialysis population currently exceeds 400,000, with costs of over $30 billion per year. "We believe that the Wearable Artificial Kidney will not only reduce the mortality and misery of dialysis patients, but will also result in significant reduction in the cost of providing viable health care," says Gura.

The Wearable Artificial Kidney is successful in preliminary tests, including two studies in dialysis patients. The new study provides important information on the technical details that made these promising results possible.

"However, the long-term effect of this technology on the well-being of must be demonstrated in much-needed clinical trials," adds Gura. "Although successful, this is but one additional step on a long road still ahead of us to bring about a much-needed change in the lives of this population."

More information: The study entitled, "Technical Breakthroughs in the Wearable Artificial Kidney (WAK)," will appear online on August 20, 2009, doi 10.2215/CJN.02790409

Source: American Society of Nephrology (news : web)

Explore further: New molecule fights oxidative stress, may lead to therapies for cancer and Alzheimer's

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sleeping through dialysis: No nightmare for kidney patients

May 21, 2009

Dialysis takes hours of kidney disease patients' time several days a week, so why not do it at night while sleeping? Overnight dialysis is more convenient for some patients and offers significant benefits over shorter daytime ...

Dialysis safe for kidney patients' heart health

Jul 09, 2009

Dialysis treatments do not affect the heart health of kidney disease patients who have had a heart attack, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN ...

Overnight hemodialysis dramatically improves survival

Nov 08, 2008

For hemodialysis patients, undergoing dialysis for eight hours overnight, three times weekly, reduces the risk of death by nearly 80 percent, compared to conventional, four-hour dialysis, according to research being presented ...

Before starting dialysis, patients need nephrologist care

Mar 25, 2009

For patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), receiving care from a nephrologist in the months before starting dialysis reduces the risk of death during the first year on dialysis, reports a study in the May 2009 issue ...

Recommended for you

Scientists aim to give botox a safer facelift

3 hours ago

New insights into botulinum neurotoxins and their interactions with cells are moving scientists ever closer to safer forms of Botox and a better understanding of the dangerous disease known as botulism. By comparing all known ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

E_L_Earnhardt
not rated yet Aug 21, 2009
Dialysis has the potential to prevent the spread of CANCER or even, in some cases, remediate or CURE the disorder IF the device could "drain off electrons" to ground, reducing energy load! Excess energy is the halmark of accelerated mitosis!