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Winning Solution: An Air Removal System for a Wearable Renal Therapy Device

An automatic air removal system that can be used safely in a wearable renal therapy device with minimal user intervention

Morteza Ahmadi and Clarence Graansma, Qidni Labs

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KidneyX Competition:

Redesign Dialysis, Phase 1

About the Solution

All existing dialysis systems require a method of preventing air bubbles introduced in the dialysis process from being returned into the patient’s blood circulation. Most existing systems use a drip chamber with a level detector where the blood exits from the bottom and the air rises to the top. The equipment operator observes the drip chamber level and makes level adjustments when required. These systems must always be maintained in a vertical orientation in order to function safely.

Wearable systems as per their portable nature may not always be in the vertical orientation. Because of the difficulty involved in removing air from a system that may be in different orientations, the air removal devices on some wearable systems that have been proposed are minimal or nonexistent.

This system uses an air removal filter of the design used in cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) systems. These filters also must be in the vertical orientation in order to remove air that accumulates in the chamber, but they will continue to remove air from the blood path even when they are not in that vertical orientation.

This system ensures that the air accumulated in the chamber is removed only at times when the filter is in the vertical orientation and will prompt the user if that orientation has not been maintained in a recent period of time. This system can also determine and signal the patient with an alarm if the hydrophobic isolation filter element has been wetted and thus has reduced the accuracy of the integrated return blood pressure monitor.

About the Winner

Qidni Labs develops the most accessible and sustainable dialysis technology in the world for millions of patients with kidney failure. Morteza Ahmadi, PhD. is the Founder and CEO and Clarence Graansma is the Senior R&D Lead, as well as a retired renal technologist.