Based upon new technological advancements the need for dialysis centers will be reduced, an artificial kidney will be wearable and implantable, and routine doctors' visits could be a thing of the past. The result of these technological advancements gives people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) more control over managing their personal health and will fundamentally improve the quality of their lives.
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In the next year the University of Washington Medicine will launch a clinical trial of their manufactured wearable Artificial Kidney. The trial, done in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will test the effectiveness of the ten pound wearable battery-powered artificial kidney which is attached as a belt around the waist. This type of dialysis treatment will keep those with CKD out of dialysis clinics.
According to Simon Karger, Associate Director of Surgical and Interventional Devices at Cambridge Consultants, Nephrologists "will zap the device to make sure it is working, tweak the regimen, and off you go.” The ultimate goal of the potential new modality of treatment is to free End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients from being "tethered"
for several hours to a dialysis machine or even prevent Peritoneal Dialysis patients from having to conduct multiple daily exchanges.
Bioartificial kidneys might one day be able to do more than filter waste with tubular cells in the dialysis apparatus. Kim Solez, MD, Professor of Pathology at the University of Alberta said, “I can imagine a wearable artificial kidney, one that patients could wear or implant so they could have an artificial device with human cells but that is mainly silicon and plastic.” The Implantable Artificial Kidney Corporation said that it is making great progress with the development of the artificial kidney design and believes that it is less than one year away from testing in a circulatory system that is similar to a human's.
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Additionally, great strides have been made in medical technology, organ preservation and the development of more effective drugs to prevent rejection. Success rates of transplant surgeries have advanced a great deal. For example, a method has been devised to trick the recipient’s immune system by making it believe that the new organ belonged to its own body and thereby immensely reduces rejection percentages, even without using immunosuppressant drugs.
Communicating with patients outside of the office is not something most physicians do, but this is already changing dramatically. Many physicians use patient portals to interact with patients through secure messaging. Though electronic health records from various companies may not talk to each other, patients are able to get information from their various providers through these portals.
While e-mail may not seem like the greatest technological advance of the last few years, it is still an underutilized technology by CKD patients. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 68 percent of patients are likely to communicate with their health care provider through e-mail. If health establishments allow for it, communication through e-mail could also be a convenient way to schedule appointments as well. Another way that physicians will likely be communicating outside of traditional office visits with patients is video conferencing.
There is a new ecosystem of care for CKD patients that is being built-up around these new technological advancements which places the patient at the center and will make the way they live today obsolete. So, let ALL of us in the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) community and especially those with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) C E L E B R A T E, because HOPE is alive and well. Amen!
*Note: Do not forget to order your No BP/No Stick Medical Alert Bracelet!
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