Nav: Home

Valley physicians pioneer groundbreaking technology to help dialysis patients

February 24, 2020

Tempe, Ariz. -Two Valley-area physicians are trying to improve care for patients with chronic kidney disease by pioneering a minimally invasive procedure that provides easier access to a patient's bloodstream for life-saving dialysis treatments.

Kidney specialist Randy Cooper, MD, of SKI Vascular Center, will be presenting his experience with the Ellipsys® Vascular Access System at the upcoming meeting of the American Society for Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology (ASDIN), February 21-23, in Las Vegas.

His initial four-year follow-up data indicates this new type of dialysis access may last longer and require fewer interventions than the current standard of care, which requires an open surgical procedure. Dr. Cooper, a board member of the Phoenix chapter of the National Kidney Foundation, is also a co-author on a recent position paper from ASDIN regarding patient selection for this revolutionary approach to dialysis patient care.

In Arizona, more than 10,000 people are currently on dialysis as a result of kidney failure - an increase of nearly 50 percent in the last decade. For these patients, many of whom must visit a dialysis center several times a week for their life-saving treatments, any improvement in quality of life can have a significant impact.

"The ability to create a minimally invasive dialysis access means no incisions, no scars and less trauma for the patient. Most people want to avoid surgery at all costs, but for patients with kidney failure who already spend so much of their life under a doctor's care, this technology offers a considerable quality of life impact," said Dr. Cooper. "As soon as we learned about this novel technology, we knew we wanted to be able to offer this to our patients."

Nearly 100 kidney patients have now undergone the Ellipsys procedure at SKI Vascular Center.

In 2015, Dr. Cooper and his partner Umar Waheed, MD, were among the first physicians to participate in the U.S. clinical trial and later co-authored an article on the study results showing the safety and efficacy of the Ellipsys system. SKI was the first surgery center in the United States to offer the Ellipsys System following its FDA approval in 2018.

Using a minimally invasive approach, Ellipsys replaces surgery with a single needlestick in order to create a fistula (a type of vascular access for dialysis). For the past 50 years, the only way to create a fistula was with a complex surgery that subjects patients to discomfort and long recovery times. In contrast, the Ellipsys procedure can be done in an outpatient setting and requires little to no recovery time.

Chandler-based data analyst Alex Kaplan, a 32-year old father of one, had his fistula created with Ellipsys in September 2019 and has been successfully using the fistula for dialysis three times a week since December 2019.

"Ellipsys just seemed like the better option in every way. It was a lot less invasive and I had virtually no recovery. With having a young child, I needed to be back in action as soon as possible for my family," he said. "The procedure was quick, with no complications, and I returned to work the next day. My fistula has very little impact on my daily life."

In addition to being more patient-friendly, recently published two-year data has shown this type of access may function better and last longer than the surgical method. Dr. Cooper's upcoming ASDIN presentation also suggests Ellipsys fistulas heal faster and can be ready to use for dialysis access sooner than surgical ones - potentially reducing the time from fistula creation to dialysis from six months to four to six weeks.

"For patients with kidney failure, this innovative procedure eliminates a lot of the hurdles they face in getting a fistula and actually being able to use it for dialysis," said Dr. Waheed. "Patients come in for a consultation and within a matter of days they are having the Ellipsys fistula created, and in some cases they've begun dialysis with that fistula in about a month."
About SKI Vascular Center

SKI Vascular Center is part of the Southwest Kidney Institute, an interconnected network of 47 offices and 70 providers in Arizona. Its staff of highly trained professionals offers an array of the most technologically advanced procedures for the prevention and treatment of dialysis access related complications and various vascular diseases.

The Ellipsys Vascular Access System is currently available at the SKI Vascular Center locations in Tempe and Peoria. Patients can call 480-610-6152 or visit to request an appointment.

Dowling & Dennis PR

Related Dialysis Articles:

Automated wearable artificial kidney may improve peritoneal dialysis
Peritoneal dialysis performed with an automated wearable artificial kidney was safe and effective for removing toxins from the blood of patients with kidney failure.
Survival following switch from urgent in-center hemodialysis to home dialysis
Few patients who start urgent and unplanned dialysis in clinical centers switch to home dialysis.
Is ownership of dialysis facilities associated with access to kidney transplants?
An analysis that included data for nearly 1.5 million patients with end-stage kidney disease looked at whether ownership of dialysis facilities was associated with patients' access to kidney transplants.
At-home dialysis improves quality of life
The rate of people starting voluntary at-home peritoneal dialysis rose from 15% to 34% over 10 years at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, providing a convenient and safe way to manage advanced-stage kidney disease compared with center-based hemodialysis, according to research published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Hydration sensor could improve dialysis
Researchers from MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital have now developed a portable sensor that can accurately measure patients' hydration levels using a technique known as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxometry.
Uncovering possible role of polyphosphate in dialysis-related amyloidosis
Researchers from Osaka University found that the low concentrations of the naturally occurring biopolymer, polyphosphate (polyP), induces amyloid formation from β2 microglobulin under both acidic and neutral conditions but by different mechanisms.
Study compares scheduled vs. emergency-only dialysis among undocumented immigrants
A unique opportunity made it feasible for uninsured patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who received emergency-only dialysis in Dallas, Texas, to enroll in private, commercial health insurance plans in 2015 and that made it possible for researchers to compare scheduled vs. emergency-only dialysis among undocumented immigrants with ESRD.
Study compares dialysis reimbursement around the globe
Dialysis reimbursement policies in most countries are focused on conventional in-center hemodialysis, although home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis might contribute to quality of life and cost savings.
Elderly patients on dialysis have a high risk of dementia
Older kidney disease patients who are sick enough to require the blood-filtering treatment known as dialysis are at high risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, according to a study led by scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Only 10 percent of non-dialysis kidney patients ever see a dietitian
In patients with chronic kidney disease, medical nutrition therapy can slow the progression and significantly reduce healthcare costs.
More Dialysis News and Dialysis Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at