Kidney Dialysis Machine ‘Small Enough to be Worn as a Belt’

The breakthrough could potentially free thousands of patients from attending hospital every other day.

More than 25,000 people in Britain need to have regular dialysis, usually around three times a week, because their kidneys do not function properly.

Described as “small and light enough to be wearable”, the battery-powered machine weighs around 10lb.

Researchers hope that the device will give patients the freedom to have their treatment whenever and wherever they choose.

Dr Victor Gura, from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, one of the team behind the new machine, said: “Our vision of a technological breakthrough has materialized in the form of a Wearable Artificial Kidney, which provides continuous dialysis 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

While hospital patients have to receive a fairly intensive form of dialysis, because of the limited time available, the researchers hope that this machine can offer a gentler form, more akin to that provided naturally by the kidneys themselves.

The researchers are carrying out preliminary tests on the machine, including in patients who need dialysis.

“However, the long-term effect of this technology on the well-being of dialysis patients must be demonstrated in much-needed clinical trials,” Dr Gura said.

“Although successful, this is but one additional step on a long road still ahead of us to bring about a much-needed change in the lives of this population.”

Timothy Statham, chief executive of the National Kidney Federation (NKF) said that few patients would want round the clock dialysis but many would appreciate the extra freedom the device could offer.

He added that many of the estimated two per cent of patients who had been able to have more regular dialysis, thorough machines in their own homes, had seen “remarkable results”.

The findings are published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6061249/Kidney-dialysis-machine-small-enough-to-be-worn-as-a-belt.html]

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