Implant boost for kidney dialysis patients on trial55,000 people in the UK rely on regular kidney dialysis
22:00 GMT, 1 December 2012
On trial: The new implant can aid thousands
Thousands of kidney dialysis patients could receive faster, safer treatment thanks to a new implant being trialled at St George’s Hospital in London and Central Manchester University Hospital.
About 55,000 patients in the UK suffering with end-stage kidney failure rely on dialysis machines to filter waste and excess water from their blood.
Until now this required regular operations by a specialist surgeon, who has had to join a vein with a nearby major artery to provide sufficient blood flow in the vein for the dialysis machine to operate.
Eventually scar tissue would build up,
forcing doctors to place a catheter directly into the major vena cava
vein in the heart in a highly risky operation.
But a new tube, called an Optiflow, may offer a solution.
Firstly, blood flow is temporarily
stopped in a specific vein and artery to fit the tube, which is made
The chosen vein is then cut and the narrow end of the
tube is inserted inside the vein. This end has tiny grips on the outside
of it to ensure the tube is fixed tightly.
A small hole is then punched in the
nearby artery, into which the larger end of the tube is inserted. This
end features two small flanges to prevent the tube becoming dislodged
Blood flow is re-established so that the vein can be connected
directly to a dialysis machine.
Savior: 55,000 people in Britain need dialysis due to failing kidneys
The Optiflow tube remains in place permanently, or until a successful kidney transplant takes place.
Eric Chemla, Consultant Renal Transplant and Vascular Surgeon at St George’s, who was the first surgeon in Europe to fit the tube, says: ‘There has been a huge rise in the demand for dialysis in recent years because of lifestyle-related illnesses such as diabetes.
‘This device has the potential to improve and save the lives of so many and, depending on long-term results, should be rolled out nationally by 2013.’