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New artificial kidneys to simplify dialysis process

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Washington: Researchers have developed a wearable artificial kidney which simplifies the dialysis process in people with end-stage kidney disease. Under the current technology patients need three sessions a week and the machine doing the treatment is stationery, limiting the patient’s ability to move around.

In contrast, a wearable device would allow patients to be mobile and untethered. It could also provide additional treatment benefits from longer sessions or more frequent days of dialysis. The device was shown to effectively clear the blood of waste products, like urea, creatinine and and phosphorus, while also removing excess water and salt. These are normally filtered out and removed by working kidneys.

The clinical trial of a prototype for such a device was performed with seven patients at University of Washington Medical Centre in the US last year. The patients were treated with the device for up to 24 hours. The US Food and Drug Administration-authorised trial was conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of the device — its ability to take over some functions of failed kidneys. The researchers also wanted to ask the participants about their impressions of the experimental treatment, and to compare those with standard dialysis treatment.

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