Students from John Hopkins University have invented a device to reduce the risk of infection, clotting in patients who need blood-cleansing dialysis because of kidney failure.
The device, designed to be implanted under the skin in a patient's leg, would give a technician easy access to the patient's bloodstream and could be easily opened and closed at the beginning and end of a dialysis procedure.
The prototype has not yet been used in human patients, but testing in animals has begun.
The students learned about the need for such a device last year while accompanying physicians on hospital rounds as part of their academic program. They watched as one doctor performed a procedure to open a narrowed blood vessel at a kidney patient's dialysis access site. They learned that this narrowing was a common complication facing kidney patients.