New System Designed to Treat Pediatric Kidney Disease

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There is no FDA-approved continuous bedside dialysis device for children. When critically ill children need kidney dialysis, doctors are forced to adapt adult-size dialysis equipment. These adapted adult devices can withdraw too much fluid from a pediatric patient, leading to dehydration, shock and loss of blood pressure.

To address this problem, which affects at least 4,000 children in the United States per year, doctors and engineers teamed up to develop a kidney replacement device designed especially for children. The prototype device is much smaller than existing dialysis equipment and works in tandem with equipment that supplements the function of the heart and lungs for severely ill patients.

“We have built a robust device that achieves automated and accurate fluid management,” said Ajit Yoganathan, a Georgia Tech Regents' professor and the Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering.

With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Yoganathan and Arvind Santhanakrishnan, a postdoctoral fellow in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, worked with Matthew Paden, an asistant professor of pediatric critical care at Emory and a physician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, to design the device. The team is currently testing the prototype’s biological compatibility and hopes to be ready for in vivo studies later this year and clinical trials in five years. 

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