In 2008 over 48,000 Americans with diabetes began treatment for end stage kidney disease(ESRD).
This brought the total number of patients on kidney dialysis due to diabetes to over 202,000.
Although an extremely severe condition, ESRD can be managed by undergoing hemodialysis, whichreplaces the function of the kidneys by filtering blood through an external machine. This treatmentrequires an artificially created access point to the bloodstream by means of a surgical procedure.However, the failure rate and lifespan of current dialysis access options are grossly inadequate. The threecurrent options for dialysis access – arteriovenous (AV) fistulas, AV grafts, and central venous catheters – on average fail within six, three, and half a year, respectively. Once they fail, new accesses must becreated until the patient eventually runs out of access sites, costing Medicare $600 million each year andresulting in 18 percent of dialysis patient mortality.
For the past 50 years, innovation in dialysis access has been focused on improving grafts andcatheters. However, they unavoidably lead to stenosis and infection. Hemova challenges the concept thata catheter or graft is the ideal form of dialysis access. The Hemova creates a paradigm shift away from themindset that stenosis and infection are unavoidable andthat innovation must mitigate or delay the effects of stenosis and infection. Instead, we seek to prevent their occurrence from the onset. In collaboration withclinicians from The Johns Hopkins Hospital, we havedeveloped a unique form of vascular access that greatlyextends the longevity and safety of access sites. TheHemova is a wholly implantable device that connectsto veins with naturally high flow rates, providingaccess by means of a subcutaneous port. This form of access avoids several problems that cause currentdevices to fail:1.
The Hemova reduces the risk of vessel wall injury from unnaturally high flows that lead tostenosis, a narrowing of the blood vessel, which causes 85 percent of graft and fistula failures andhundreds of thousands of intervention procedures each year.