A graduate student team from Johns Hopkins won the 2011 ASME Innovation Showcase for their Hemova Port device. Hemova Port would be implanted under the skin in the leg to provide a safer method of performing dialysis, hopefully minimizing infection, clotting and stenosis of blood vessels. The device is currently undergoing pre-clinical trials on animals and a company is being formed to commercialize it.
The Hemova device is equipped with two valves that can be opened by the dialysis technician with a syringe from outside the skin. The technician can similarly close the valves when the procedure is over, an approach that helps avoid infection and clotting. The device also includes a simple cleaning system, serving as yet another way to deter infections.
Currently, most dialysis access sites are in the arm or the heart. The Hemova device instead is sutured to the leg’s femoral vein, avoiding the unnaturally high blood flows that cause vessel narrowing when dialysis machines are connected to veins and arteries in the arm. The student inventors say the Hemova Port’s leg connection should allow the site to remain in use for a significantly longer period of time.