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Automated, Wearable Kidney Offers Continuous Dialysis

UCLA team develops device giving patients freedom of movement, better quality of life

SATURDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- An automated artificial kidney that can be worn on the body may one day be to dialysis patients what the insulin pump is to diabetes patients.

The automated, wearable artificial kidney (AWAK) works better than conventional dialysis, according to a paper in the current issue of Clinical and Experimental Nephrology.

"What's really new about it is the patient's freedom," Martin Roberts, co-designer of the device and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a dialysis consultant with the Veterans Affairs Los Angeles Healthcare system, said in a university news release. "To me, as the inventor, the most important thing for the patients is their freedom. The next important thing is that because it's working all the time instead of intermittently, you can do a much better job of treating the patient. So we expect the patient to feel better and live longer."

UCLA-VA has already signed an exclusive licensing agreement with AWAK Technologies Pte. Ltd., in Singapore, to develop the design.

The AWAK, which is bloodless, improves upon a previous artificial kidney that was portable but not actually wearable. It improves greatly on conventional dialysis, which requires patients to be connected to a machine for hours.

The new machine would function 24/7, as do actual kidneys, so it would present fewer "shocks" to the patient's system.

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more on dialysis.

-- HealthDay Staff

SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, news release, July 2008

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