Researchers are testing a battery-operated artificial ‘kidney belt’ designed to be worn by patients.
The 10lb device is designed to allow patients with kidney failure to free themselves from dialysis machines.
At the moment patients must spend hours every week attached to the bulky machines, which take over kidney function to extract the body’s unwanted substances.
The new belt - known as the Wearable Artificial Kidney - offers dialysis 24 hours a day while the patient is walking, working or sleeping.
Dr Victor Gura, who heads the US team that developed the system at the University of California, explained: ‘We believe that the Wearable Artificial Kidney will not only reduce the mortality and misery of dialysis patients, but will also result in significant reduction in the cost of providing viable health care.’
Powered by two nine volt batteries, the belt has proved successful in preliminary tests, including two studies of dialysis patients, according to Dr Gura.
The kidney belt is described in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.