DALLAS (KFDX/KJTL) — About half a million Americans live with kidney failure, and for many of them, dialysis is a way life.
Dialysis is the process of cleaning out the blood, which is what the kidneys are meant to do. But it requires spending four hours a day, three days a week, hooked up to a dialysis machine.
Now, one Texas hospital is using new technology, that could soon make those treatments go by faster and in the comfort of your own home.
For 12 years, dialysis nurse Maya Gedamu has been by the bedside of countless kidney patients.
“12 years later you start to think there has to be a better way to do what we’re doing,” says Gedamu.
This large dialysis machine is traditionally what she uses to treat her patients . It can take up to an hour and a half, just in preparation time for each session.
But now, “over here we have the new technology that we are using, so we are able to to do this in 30,” says Gedamu.
The Tablo is a portable dialysis machine, about three-quarters of the size, and designed to work as simply as a smartphone app.
In fewer than 20 minutes, Gedamu can follow the prompts and go through the checklist of tests and supplies for each treatment.
“It just really allows the nurse more time to be with their patient, talk to them, be able to connect with them instead of focusing on the machine,” says Gedamu.
The interface is said to be so easy to use. Patients can do it on their own. That’s according to patient Richard Crawford of Keller.
He does dialysis at a center, three times a week, but took the “tablo” home for an eight-week trial.
“I could set it up pretty much all by myself and just get my treatment and then get off. It got to a point when the family didn’t have to check up on me they just yell upstairs, dad you okay?” says Crawford.
The FDA still has to give its stamp of approval for at-home use. So far now, it’s limited to use by hospital teams like Gedamu’s. Technology guiding the care of those who depend on the life-saving treatment.
Medical City Dallas is the first hospital in Texas to use the device.
Tablo is currently undergoing evaluation for home dialysis in hopes of having FDA clearance by 2020.