A couple of years ago we wrote about a new wearable dialysis machine going on clinical trial that’s essentially an artificial kidney for cleansing and regulating the consistency of plasma electrolytes on the go. Dialysis patients today have to spend hours tethered to a machine, a chore that puts a strain on their lives. Now promising results from the study have been published in journal JCI Insight that point to wearable dialysis becoming a common practice for managing kidney failure patients.
The Wearable Artificial Kidney was developed at the University of Washington with help from the FDA Center for Device and Radiological Health. It’s essentially a disassembled traditional dialysis machine that was reconstituted to fit on a belt that hangs around the torso. One major change that was made was to include a filtration system that removes the need to constantly add purified water to the device. Instead the water is cleansed and recirculated into the machine. Additionally, it was made to run on batteries to make it truly a mobile therapeutic device.
The recent study involved seven patients that wore the artificial kidney for up to 24 hours. Researchers showed that the device successfully cleansed blood of urea, creatine, and phosphorus, and regulated the levels of water and sodium. Moreover, even without limiting the diet of the patients studied, a typical requirement for folks with kidney failure, the device still managed to keep the relevant plasma electrolytes at healthy levels. There are still optimizations that can be made, especially on the safety and reliability of the system, but the patients already reported a more satisfying experience than having to sit next to a machine at a clinic for hours at a time.
Study in journal JCI Insight: A wearable artificial kidney for patients with end-stage renal disease…