Wearable Artificial Kidney Device Shows Progress

With technical advances, the latest WAK devices match the performance of larger dialysis units

FRIDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The prototype design for a "wearable artificial kidney" (WAK) matched the performance of larger dialysis units and may offer a new modality for daily dialysis in end stage renal disease, according to a study published online Aug. 20 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Victor Gura, M.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles, and colleagues evaluated the latest designs for the WAK (versions 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2). The researchers compared the flows and clearances of the WAK pump with conventional pumps and with gravity steady flow.

The researchers found that the 10-pound WAK pump powered by two 9-volt batteries and with 375 milliliters of constantly recirculated dialysate, was able to effect the same clearances as larger, heavier conventional units that cannot be battery operated. The WAK V1.0 demonstrated creatinine clearance of 18.5 ±3.2 ml/min and the WAK V1.1, 27.0±4.0 ml/min in uremic pigs.

"Half-cycle differences between blood and dialysate, alternating transmembrane pressures, higher amplitude pulsations, and a push-pull flow increased convective transport. This creates a yet undescribed type of hemodiafiltration. Further improvements were achieved with a larger surface area high-flux dialyzer and a higher dialysate pH. The data suggest that the WAK might be an efficient way of providing daily dialysis and optimizing end stage renal disease treatment," the authors write.

Gura is the chief medical officer of Xcorporeal Inc., maker of the wearable artificial kidney.

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