The world’s first kidney dialysis machine specifically designed for infants has been used to successfully treat its first newborn.
In the past, doctors used standard kidney dialysis machines to treat newborns suffering from kidney failure. But that’s hardly ideal because such machines are designed for much larger adults, making it difficult to precisely treat infants.
That’s why Dr. Claudio Ronco and his colleagues at the San Bartolo Hospital in Vincenza, Italy created their dialysis machine for newborn babies. Ronco says the device, which was officially licensed last summer by European medical authorities, can be used by any child weighing less than twenty-two pounds.
Recently, Ronco and his medical team used the newborn dialysis machine to treat a three-day-old baby girl suffering from multiple organ failure. When treated with the device, the girl weighed 6.6 pounds.
Ronco says the newborn dialysis machine saved the young girl’s life, giving her family new hope. “Her parents had already reserved the funeral,” Ronco said. “But [now] she’s doing great.”
Ronco has offered more information about his newborn dialysis machine, which costs just under $50,000, in an article recently published by The Lancet.
Dr. Bethany Foster of the Montreal Children’s Hospital says the device should be considered “a pretty major advance for the smallest infants.” Foster, who is an associate professor of pediatrics, went on to say that “I can’t imagine the baby they [treated] would have survived with the current technology.”