‘Wearable artificial kidney’ for dialysis patients has been devised by UCLA researchers, according to recent paper published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN). Victor Gura, MD, inventor of the experimental device, and a physician at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, explains that the device is actually a dialysis machine which is worn as a belt that is to provide continuous treatment for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The device weighs about 10 pounds and is powered by two nine-volt batteries. Because patients don’t need to be hooked up to a full-sized dialysis machine, they are free to walk, work, or sleep while undergoing continuous, gentle dialysis that more closely approximates normal kidney function. He notes that the U.S. dialysis population currently exceeds 400,000, with costs of over $30 billion per year. He believes that the portable dialysis machine would not only reduce the miserable conditions of dialysis patients but would also result in a significant reduction in health care costs.