Background: More frequent haemodialysis can improve both survival and quality of life of patients with chronic kidney disease. However, there is little capacity in the UK to allow patients to have more frequent haemodialysis treatments in hospital and satellite haemodialysis units. New means of delivering haemodialysis are therefore required. Our aim was to assess the safety and efficiency of a wearable haemodialysis device.
Methods: Eight patients with end-stage kidney failure (five men, three women, mean age 51.7 [SD 13.8] years) who were established on regular haemodialysis were fitted with a wearable haemodialysis device for 4-8 h. Patients were given unfractionated heparin for anticoagulation, as they would be for standard haemodialysis.
Findings: There were no important cardiovascular changes and no adverse changes in serum electrolytes or acid-base balance. There was no evidence of clinically significant haemolysis in any patient. Mean blood flow was 58.6 (SD 11.7) mL/min, with a dialysate flow of 47.1 (7.8) mL/min. The mean plasma urea clearance rate was 22.7 (5.2) mL/min and the mean plasma creatinine clearance rate was 20.7 (4.8) mL/min. Clotting of the vascular access occurred in two patients when the dose of heparin was decreased and the partial thromboplastin time returned towards the normal reference range in both of these patients. The fistula needle became dislodged in one patient, but safety mechanisms prevented blood loss, the needle was replaced, and treatment continued.
Interpretation: This wearable haemodialysis device shows promising safety and efficacy results, although further studies will be necessary to confirm these results.