Wearable Artificial Kidney Offers Huge Possibilities for Nursing Home Tenants
There’s hope for patients with diabetes and kidney disease: a portable machine that could reduce or even eliminate the need for dialysis and organ transplants. Called a “wearable kidney,” the device was developed by researchers in Washington state.
Dialysis has evolved very little since it was developed in the 1960s. Dialysis machines perform the job of healthy kidneys when patients’ kidneys are at or near failure. They remove waste, extra water, salt, and other chemicals from the blood and balance blood pressure. At the moment, dialysis treatment is a temporary solution. Kidney failure is usually permanent, and the only long-term solution is either life-long dialysis or an organ transplant.
Limitations of Traditional Dialysis
The average life expectancy of patients on dialysis is between 5-10 years. Most patients waiting for transplants must undergo dialysis treatments multiple times a week at the dialysis center of their local hospital. Besides the fact that dialysis is only a temporary solution, it’s also expensive. Patients undergoing dialysis struggle to lead normal lives. They must carefully control their diets, and their schedules are dominated by their treatments.
Successful Test of the Wearable Artificial Kidney
So far the wearable artificial kidney has been tested on several patients with varying levels of success. The greatest success was with a 73-year old patient, Chuck Lee, who wore it for a period of 24 hours. Lee has oriented his entire life around dialysis treatments, which he must receive three times a week for four hours at a time. His experience with the wearable artificial kidney was a revelation. For his safety, he wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital, but he was able to walk around—a huge improvement over sitting in one place for hours at a time—and eat food he hadn’t tasted in years.
Promise for the Future
Future patients will be able to go where they wish and lead normal lives. Because the device is constantly working, patients will be able to eat what they want—including food high in potassium and phosphorus, which dialysis cannot filter. The wearable kidney is still in an experimental phase, but it could eventually present a viable alternative to kidney transplants and improve the quality of life for nursing home and assisted living residents with diabetes and kidney disease.
Caretech Group Provides Cutting-Edge Technology and Rapid Delivery
Already, the FDA has fast tracked their evaluation of the device. If approved, Caretech Group will work directly with suppliers to provide its clients with the device as soon as possible. We partner with nursing homes and assisted living facilities to provide the best medical supplies available at competitive prices. Our focus on innovation and efficiency includes inventory management and end-to-end operational assessments. Visit our homepage for more information on how we reduce costs and improve service.