Promising results for pilot trial of wearable hemodialysis device

December 13, 2007

A pilot trial of a wearable haemodialysis device* to improve the quality of life for patients with kidney failure has delivered promising results. These are the conclusions of authors of an Article in this week's edition of The Lancet.

Nearly 1300000 patients worldwide have chronic kidney failure that requires treatment with either dialysis or renal transplantation. Haemodialysis is an established treatment for such patients, yet their survival remains poor due to increased cardiovascular risk, and is similar to that of patients with solid organ cancers. The quality of life and survival of haemodialysis patients could be improved by increasing both the dose of dialysis (in terms of clearance of urea/toxins from the body) and the frequency of dialysis â€" from three times a week to five times a week or even daily, since the latter is closer to physiological norms. The idea of a wearable haemodialysis device - so that patients could perform their own treatment at home â€" was first postulated in the 1970s, with a "wearable kidney" developed at that time. However, recent technological advances have meant that the system could be miniaturised.

Dr Andrew Davenport, University College London (UCL) Centre for Nephrology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK, and colleagues studied five men and three women with end-stage kidney failure, average age just under 52 years, who were established on regular haemodialysis and were fitted with the wearable haemodialysis device for between four and eight hours.

The researchers found there were no important cardiovascular changes and no adverse changes in serum electrolytes or the acid-base balance in the patients' blood. Rates of blood flow, dialysate flow and urea and creatine clearance were all satisfactory, although they were all significantly lower than in conventional dialysis (for example a blood flow of 59ml per min compared with 300ml UK average in conventional dialysis). However, once the device can be worn for long, continuous periods, the differing flow rate will be become less of an issue because a long period at a low flow rate can clear as much or more toxins from the blood as the shorter period with a higher flow rate experienced three times per week in conventional dialysis. Although the study objective was not to return a patient to their post-dialysis target weight, fluid was successfully removed during treatment, with no adverse cardiovascular changes and despite patients being encouraged to eat and drink during treatment. All patients were pleased with the treatment, and had no complaints. Even those who wished to sleep while wearing the device were able to without difficulty. The patients stated unanimously that they would recommend the device to other patients.

The authors conclude by calling for larger trials of the device to confirm safety and efficacy of the treatment. They say: "The device has the potential to become a practical means of delivering extended and more frequent dialysis to patients with end-stage kidney failure."

In an accompanying Comment, Dr Garabed Eknoyan, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. USA, says: "The wearable artificial kidney reported today is a small first step in the long road to wearable blood-cleansing devices. Lessons learned from further study should pave the way for realising the future promise of dialysis with artificial kidneys."
The paper associated with this release is at

*Notes to editors: A jpeg of a patient wearing the device is attached to this press mailing; you are free to use this in your publication.

Dr Andrew Davenport, University College London (UCL) Centre for Nephrology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK T) 0207-794-0500 extn 34773 E) Dr Andrew Davenport

Dr Garabed Eknoyan, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. USA T) +1 713 798 4748 E)


Related Blood Flow Articles from Brightsurf:

Brain regions with impaired blood flow have higher tau levels
In Alzheimer's disease, impaired blood flow to brain regions coincides with tau protein buildup.

3D ultrasound enables accurate, noninvasive measurements of blood flow
A 3D ultrasound system provides an effective, noninvasive way to estimate blood flow that retains its accuracy across different equipment, operators and facilities, according to a new study.

Blood flow recovers faster than brain in micro strokes
Work by a Rice neurobiologist shows that increased blood flow to the brain is not an accurate indicator of neuronal recovery after a microscopic stroke.

Exercise improves memory, boosts blood flow to brain
Scientists have collected plenty of evidence linking exercise to brain health, with some research suggesting fitness may even improve memory.

3D VR blood flow to improve cardiovascular care
Biomedical engineers are developing a massive fluid dynamics simulator that can model blood flow through the full human arterial system at subcellular resolution.

MRI shows blood flow differs in men and women
Healthy men and women have different blood flow characteristics in their hearts, according to a new study.

Brain blood flow sensor discovery could aid treatments for high blood pressure & dementia
A study led by researchers at UCL has discovered the mechanism that allows the brain to monitor its own blood supply, a finding in rats which may help to find new treatments for human conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure) and dementia.

Blood flow monitor could save lives
A tiny fibre-optic sensor has the potential to save lives in open heart surgery, and even during surgery on pre-term babies.

Changes in blood flow tell heart cells to regenerate
Altered blood flow resulting from heart injury switches on a communication cascade that reprograms heart cells and leads to heart regeneration in zebrafish.

Blood flow command center discovered in the brain
An international team of researchers has discovered a group of cells in the brain that may function as a 'master-controller' for the cardiovascular system, orchestrating the control of blood flow to different parts of the body.

Read More: Blood Flow News and Blood Flow Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to