New Dialysis Machine Able to Treat Newborns

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VICENZA, ITALY – Italian researchers have developed a dialysis machine that can successfully treat newborns. They invented the machine to treat newborn infants suffering from kidney failure.

In some cases dialysis machines used for adults can be adjusted to work for small children. But newborn infants are so small, using an adult dialysis machine is very difficult, if not impossible. “To try to treat the patient with an adult machine is like trying to fix a watch with a tool that you use for a large car,” said Dr. Claudio Ronco, director of the department of nephrology at San Bortolo Hospital.

Newborns are incapable of withstanding the force of adult-size dialysis machines. Researchers said that using such machines can overpower a infant’s delicate blood vessels. “The neonate is so small that it requires dedicated technology,” said Ronco.

Researchers have named the new machine the CARPEDIEM (Cardio-Renal Pediatric Dialysis Emergency Machine). It is designed to provide kidney dialysis to infants and small children between 4.4 and 22 pounds. One of the major differences from the adult-size machine is the blood flow and filtration. Adult-size machines user much larger catheters and handle higher blood flow. The CARPEDIEM uses very small catheters that protect the infant’s blood vessels.

Since the first use of CARPEDIEM, ten other infants in Europe have been treated. It is the hope of Ronco and other researchers to present the new technology to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval. “There is definitely an interest in the United States for this machine,” he said.

What is Dialysis?

Dialysis, sometimes referred to as “renal dialysis” is the process of removing waste products and excess liquid from the blood. Dialysis is necessary when a patient has suffered kidney damage or kidney failure. Dialysis procedures are often delivered by a dialysis technician. The technician is responsible for working with the patient and monitoring the patient’s response to the dialysis.

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