Currently, up to 5,000 children in the United States are on dialysis for kidney failure. Each year, as many as 1,000 more develop kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a transplant.
Now a new device makes dialysis a little easier on young patients and their families.Maya Zarger and her sister Aneka are alike in a lot of ways. But at 18 months old, Maya has been through more than most kids. "She was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome," says their mother, Megan. The disease destroyed her kidneys. It's in remission now, but every night, Maya is hooked to a dialysis machine. "Her room looked like a little mini-hospital room," says Megan.
Now, thanks to a new, smaller machine, it looks like a little girl's room again.
"The current machine is a major advance in home peritoneal dialysis. It's very portable, so it allows the family to engage in pretty normal family activities."
It can also deliver small amounts of dialysis fluid to children more safely. The machine's efficiency means fewer alarms, which means a better night's sleep for everyone.
While Maya waits for a kidney transplant, this machine keeps her alive, and her family keeps her spirits up.Another advantage of the machine is that it has a computer chip that allows doctors to review the information and monitor the treatment at any time of the day. With previous machines, doctors had to adjust the treatment by simply tweaking it according to the parents' complaints and observations.