A new clinical trial is due to take place in the US, looking into a new dialysis machine that allows a person to move around and continue day-to-day activities while using it, without having to be fixed to a single point. The new portable device means a lot of time will be saved for patients needing dialysis, as it fits onto a belt the user can wear around their waist.
A dialysis machine is used when a patient’s kidneys cannot function properly, and so require a machine to perform the kidney’s normal function for them. The dialysis machine filters the patient’s blood, as the kidneys would normally do, to help rid the body of any excess water, salt or other waste that may otherwise be harmful to the body.
A person requiring dialysis may be suffering from chronic or advanced kidney disease, and as NHS Choices explains, over 40,000 people in the UK are in some way affected by kidney failure. If this new technology is successful, it could mean a lot of people having to undergo dialysis on a regular basis needn’t waste time having to sit still while connected to a machine for hours at a time.
At present, machines do exist that a patient can take home with them, however these machines still require the patient to remain stationary as it cannot be moved while in use. The new technology appears as a much smaller version of the machine, attached to a belt weighing in total around ten pounds.
Operated by a battery, the machine constantly filters the water required to properly perform the dialysis, whereas with previous technology, machines would need to be connected to a mains supply as well as a water pipe. Should the trial be a success, it is envisioned that the device could be made even lighter, making it even more portable for the user, and although it’s still in the early stages of testing, it could potentially have a positive impact on the treatment of thousands of patients.