A wearable, artificial kidney passed its first clinical trial at the University of Washington, Seattle (video below).
The artificial kidney could someday give dialysis patients the freedom of no longer being attached to hospital or home dialysis machines, according to doctors in charge of the study, notes the Laughing Squid.
The artificial kidney, which boasts its own water filtration unit, showed good results after a trial with seven patients who used the device for up to 24 hours in late 2015, according to a report published on June 2 in JCI Insights, Science News Journal reports.
The trial showed the artificial kidney was able to rid the patients' blood of all waste products and empty their bodies of excessive water and salt.
The diet for patients was restricted during the trial, but there are no restrictions needed to maintain the correct level of electrolytes and fluid volume.
There were no serious side effects reported from the artificial kidney, but the seventh patient did have some technical problems with carbon dioxide gas bubbles and flow with the solution and blood.
The patients had a much higher satisfaction with the artificial kidney compared to typical dialysis machines.
The researchers are hoping to do further studies with the artificial kidney.
"This would be a game changer," Dr. Maria DeVita, associate director of nephrology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told HealthDay News. "The fact that clinical trials are beginning gives us all hope that we will have a significant improvement in the care of those patients requiring ongoing hemodialysis."
Dr. Robert Courgi, an endocrinologist at Northwell Health's Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, New York, added:
The wearable artificial kidney is a concept that has been discussed for years.
It is exciting to see this technological breakthrough come to reality in clinical trials.
Unfortunately there were some shortcomings, in the form of technical problems, and traditional hemodialysis remains the standard of care for the moment the wearable artificial kidney may become a reality in the very near future.