Hemodialysis is typically the common means of treatment, and it involves
externally removing toxins from the blood via machinery. The process takes four
hours, three times weekly, causing a great deal of stress in the patient's life
and body. As the treatment only occurs every few days, harmful substances build
up in the blood stream, and when they are all filtered out in the span of
several hours, along with the addition of anticoagulants used to prevent
filtering blood from clotting, it causes a shock to the patient's body.
However, thanks to Martin Roberts and David B. N. Lee of the UCLA's David
Geffen School of Medicine, cumbersome dialysis may be a thing of the past for
many patients. They have designed a peritoneal,
wearable kidney which could replace the function of a patient's own failing
There are many benefits to the automated, wearable artificial kidney, or AWAK.
Foremost is that rather than spending hours on a machine several times a week;
much like a regular kidney, the AWAK functions continuously. This will allow
patients to go about their lives in a much more unaffected manner than
Another is the efficiency of the device. Typically, dialysate, the fluid of
pollutants and other chemicals removed from blood during dialysis, is simply
disposed. The AWAK can reuse the fluid and proteins contained in the dialysate,
reducing protein and eliminating water loss during the filtration process.
"Dialysis-on-the-go, made possible by AWAK's 'wearability' and automation,
frees end-stage renal failure patients from the servitude that is demanded by
the current dialytic regimentations," stated Robert and Lee in a Clinical
and Experimental Nephrology article about the device. Certainly the device
will improve the quality of life for many dialysis patients should it see