Hemodialysis (HD), while effective, has been shown to reduce the quality of life for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients who utilize the treatment. Though the treatment is lifesaving, many HD patients suffer nausea, exhaustion, mineral imbalances, heart complications, and more due to dialysis. In fact, in many cases patients do not die as a result of CKD itself, but instead their dialysis treatment which causes a weakening of the heart due to scaring and valve (allows blood flow in only one direction through the heart) calcification.
Groundbreaking technology announced by scientists on Wednesday March 5th, 2014 suggests that: "A new technique for purifying blood using a nanofiber mesh could prove useful as a cheap, wearable alternative to kidney dialysis." Researchers at National Institute for Materials Science have developed the mesh to effectively remove uremic (waste products in blood) toxins that allows for significant miniaturization (extremely small size) of dialysis machines.
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This means that people who currently use HD can dialyze more comfortably for longer periods of time. When implemented, CKD patients will likely see an increase in their health as well as quality of life.
This technological development was expedited after terrible earthquakes in 2011 left many Japanese without dialysis treatments until normal hospital services were resumed. So there is also an inherent and very important safety element to this new advancement.
Though the technology is not ready for "prime-time," the team is confident that small, wrist-worn HD devices will "soon be a feasible, compact and cheap alternative to dialysis for kidney failure patients across the world."
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"Nanofiber Mesh Filters Blood of Toxins, May Allow for Tiny Hemodialysis Machines." Http://www.medgadget.com/. Medgadget LLC.
CIOL Bureau. "Smart Nanofibers to Treat Kidney Failure." Http://www.ciol.com/. Cyber Media (India) Ltd.