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AWAK Peritoneal Dialysis – First Approved Wearable Device
Anyone with renal disease knows that losing kidney function can be a difficult thing. As the kidneys go through cellular death, the kidneys lose the ability to filter waste from the blood and can no longer produce urine or adjust fluids within the body. The end result? Toxins build up and can cause illness, as well as death, if left untreated.
Fortunately, dialysis can perform the duty of the kidneys and clean your blood, eliminating the buildup of toxins and making it possible to continue until you can recover kidney function or receive a transplant. Dialysis can be time-consuming and difficult, usually requiring the patient to be connected to a machine for long periods of time. This is where AWAK comes into play.
What Is AWAK?
The AWAK peritoneal dialysis device makes it possible to do your dialysis just about anywhere. With more than 4 million dialysis patients in the world right now, anything that can relieve the burden on both patients and clinics is useful. Not only does AWAK allow for portable dialysis, it also reduces the amount of dialysis solution required.
The device is easy to carry with you, as it weighs less than 2 kilograms, and it provides a wearable dialysis option that you can take anywhere you go. This eliminates the need to stay in a clinic room while you’re waiting for the dialysis to finish.
How Does It Work?
You can use AWAK day or night, and it provides you with 6-8 hours of Tidal PD therapy. The AWAK device uses a proprietary sorbent, which is a material to bind other molecules to it via chemical or ionic bonds. In this case, the AWAK sorbent binds to uremic toxins and removes them while refreshing the dialysate in real time.
The peritoneal dialysate collects the uremic toxins and then passes through an Adsorber system where the toxins are removed. The regenerated dialysate is returned to the patient’s body. The system adjusts calcium and magnesium to ensure the levels are correct and increases glucose as needed.
The same dialysate is recirculated during the entire therapy, and thanks to the unique system developed by AWAK, the entire process results in 12-16 liters of fresh dialysate, but only requires 2 liters of dialysis fluid for PD treatment.
HD therapy is slightly different, though it does require 6 liters of HD solution, and the sorbent regenerates the used dialysate from the machine. Considering the usual amount is 120 liters of HD solution, this is impressive.
Pros and Cons of AWAK
At first glance, it seems like AWAK is a dream come true. You have the ability to take your dialysis with you, and that means you can plan your life around what you want, rather than what your body needs. It’s an exciting concept!
Pros of the AWAK peritoneal dialysis device are:
- It uses just 4 liters of HD dialysate instead of the usual 120 liters.
- It does not require a reverse osmosis water system.
- It allows for dialysis anywhere.
- it is very simple to use.
- One 6-8 hour therapy gives you 12–16 liters of dialysate flow.
- It includes alarms
Cons are also an issue, and they include:
- Potential clogging of the machine.
- Minor stomach discomfort is common.
- Tests have been run on fairly small groups
Overall, the technology seems to work very well, but there are still potential kinks to work out. As it becomes more popular, it’s likely that more people will have a say in how to adjust the machine. Technology can only improve from here.
What People Are Saying
Right now, there aren’t a lot of reviews online, possibly because AWAK is not yet widely available. However, the people who have used the system seem to be quite happy with it, thanks to the ability to move around and use much less liquid than usual. The freedom afforded is something you can’t easily find, particularly in the world of kidney disease, as any break from dialysis can cause serious health problems.
Alternatives to AWAK
More and more companies are starting to work on portable dialysis machines, so they aren’t completely unheard of. However, it’s rare to find one that is truly useful. Many companies are working on this technology and have a long way to go yet.
Quanta is working on a hemodialysis machine that is able to sit on a table. It has already been cleared for health care professional use in hospitals and certain nursing facilities. The device is separate from a centralized system and can be connected to water purification hardware easily to make it more portable. It is meant to give longer-term procedures that are gentler on the body, instead of just intense dialysis three times a week, though this is also an option.
NxStage also has a portable hemodialysis machine, called System One. It uses a cartridge system, and while not that small, it is portable for traveling. It’s meant to be used at home and can function during sleeping hours. The System One also has an app so you can see any potential issues before they become a major problem. It uses purified tap water and concentrated dialysate, but no special connections.
While these are alternatives to AWAK, they are still fairly unwieldy and are best for home use, not while out and about, like the AWAK.
AWAK is set to provide a level of freedom never before seen by dialysis patients. Instead of spending three days a week in a clinic, attached to a machine, they can move about and enjoy their lives all while removing toxins from their blood. In short, this could be a revolutionary design for kidney patients.