Home dialysis machine could revolutionise renal care

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 24-Feb-2023

Compact portable device inspired by juicing machines is rolled out to NHS patients

A new home dialysis device inspired by a commercial juicing appliance is being made available on the NHS.

The Quanta Dialysis System is being introduce by 16 NHS trusts across the county.

It is around the size of a microwave oven and is simple to operate, making is accessible to a large number of patients.

This compares to traditional hospital devices, which can be up to 5ft tall, heavy, and complex to use, making them less suitable for patients to operate in their own homes.

The Quanta solution also features a wi-fi connection that sends information to doctors in real time, meaning any complications can be spotted and acted upon quickly.

The technology has been developed by UK health tech firm, Quanta Dialysis Technologies, and is inspired by the mechanisms used in modern commercial juices that filter fruit waste.

During dialysis, patients are attached to the machine via two tubes in their arm.

The blood flows through one tube and enters the machine, where it mixes with a liquid called dialysate, which binds to toxins in the blood.

This liquid is passed through a filter to separate out the dialysate mixture and the clean blood is then fed back into the body via the second tube.

While the new Quanta Dialysis System device shares a similar mechanism, the filters are contained within a small, single-use and removable cartridge like those used in commercial juicers.

And this enables the machine to be far more compact and easier for patients to operate, and effectively eliminates the need for disinfection between uses.

One of the main reasons a lot of patients opt not to have home dialysis is because they are intimidated by a large, bulky piece of medical equipment

Dr Paul Komenda, professor of medicine at the University of Manitoba and chief medical officer at Quanta, said: “One of the main reasons a lot of patients opt not to have home dialysis is because they are intimidated by a large, bulky piece of medical equipment.

“Setting up the machines for treatment is complex, and only those who are confident with computing technology tend to bother.

“The Quanta Dialysis System, however, requires far less training, thanks to the simple on-screen instructions.”

Last summer the device won the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award.

It will now potentially be rolled out to more hospitals, supporting the 5,000 Britons who currently self administer dialysis in their own homes.

It will also help more patients to receive treatment at home, in turn reducing infection risk.

A 2021 report by The National Kidney Foundation found that 700 kidney patients who underwent dialysis in hospital between March and November 2020 died from COVID-19, compared with just 50 who did it at home.

And a recent analysis by the University of Bangor suggested the NHS could save £17,000 per patient each year if all dialysis was done at home, as it would slash the costs of specialist staff, complex machines, dedicated clinics, and transporting people to and from appointments.

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