Easy Access Dialysis

Dialysis tool Hemova Port may become safer for kidney disease patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) While dialysis is an important way to keep kidney disease patients alive, it can also cause other health problems. Now, a team of students has created a tool to make dialysis safer.

The tool makes it easier for doctors to get to patients' bloodstreams, where dialysis machines are connected. It will likely reduce the risk of infection, clotting, and narrowing of blood vessels, which are health problems that dialysis patients face with the current ways that doctors connect dialysis machines.

"A new tool could make dialysis safer for kidney disease patients."

Every year, about 350,000 Americans with kidney failure have to undergo dialysis in order to keep toxins from building up in their bloodstreams.

In order to avoid these problems, graduate students at Johns Hopkins University made a tool that gives doctors easy access to the bloodstream of dialysis patients. The tool - which is called the Hemova Port - can easily be opened and closed at the beginning and end of a dialysis session.

The Hemova Port is still in the early stages of development. Even though it has yet to be used in humans, tests are already underway in animals.

Normally, patients with kidney failure have to be cut open in the arm or near the heart in order for doctors to gain access to their bloodstreams. The Hemova Port instead is connected to a vein in the leg.

This helps avoid the high blood flow that causes blood vessels to narrow when dialysis machines are attached to the veins and arteries in the arm.

The Hemova Port also has two valves that can be opened by a doctor with a syringe in a way that does not have to break the patient's skin to insert a dialysis machine.

The team of Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering students recently won a $10,000 first prize at the 2011 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Innovation Showcase.

Peter Li, one of the students working on the Hemova device, says that it is an honor to win first place. More importantly, however, the money and recognition will be a huge help as the Hemova Port goes through more testing.

Hopefully, Li says, the prize will help the tool become available to dialysis patients. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 29, 2011
Last Updated:
June 30, 2011