Resources for Biomedical Engineering Device Design
S22 Project: Dialassist
A Novel Diagnostic Tool To Improve Dialysis Outcomes
Prototype of our SmartPull device. A 3D-printed housing contains two linear actuators that drive a syringe and two load cells that record resistance as the syringe moves.
Every year, over 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from Acute Kidney Injury, where for some reason or another, their kidneys cease to filter the waste out of their blood properly. In hospital settings, a common treatment for kidney injury is Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy or CRRT – a type of dialysis where a machine continuously filters a low level of a patient’s blood. In order to prepare a patient for CRRT, a catheter must be placed into the jugular vein for blood to flow into the machine. The issue at hand is that the catheterization process is an art form with little feedback – once you insert a catheter into a patient’s neck, you cannot see where the tip goes. If the catheter is poorly placed, hours of precious treatment time are then wasted trying to troubleshoot. This is where we come in. Team DialAssist has designed the SmartPull, a device that determines the potential for a placed catheter to support sufficient blood flow for CRRT. The SmartPull accomplishes this by automatically deploying a syringe that is attached to the access port of a placed catheter, detecting the force required to draw blood through the catheter, and interpreting this force value for the clinician. A high required force indicates a problem with the catheter that may necessitate readjustment; on the other hand, a low required force means that everything is good to go. Through the use of the SmartPull, clinicians, especially inexperienced trainees, will be able to have peace of mind that CRRT catheters are well-placed, saving money, treatment time, and ultimately, patient lives.
Dr. James Barger
Anesthesiology & Critical Care, Assistant Professor