The Wearable Artificial Kidney, or WAK, is a miniaturized dialysis machine that can be worn around the waist. The present prototype of the WAK is a 10-pound device, powered by nine-volt batteries, which connects to a patient via a catheter. It is designed to run continuously on batteries.

The Wearable Artificial Kidney was invented by nephrologist Victor Gura, MD, FASN, from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The device has been involved in laboratory and clinical testing since 2001 by medical clinicians, bio medical engineers, and other medical device researchers. It is manufactured by Blood Purification Technologies, based in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The WAK passed the first FDA-approved proof-of-concept trial and data was presented  at the American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week 2015. Seven hemodialysis patients wore the device for 24 hours and remained hemodynamically stable with no adverse events.

The trial is being conducted by the University of Washington. The principal investigator is Dr. Jonathan Himmelfarb, professor of medicine, Division of Nephrology in the UW School of Medicine, and director of the Kidney Research Institute.

The device was one of three products related to end-stage renal disease that were awarded a special fast-track to market status in April 2012. The program, called Innovation Pathway, is a new system designed to help medical devices reach patients in a safe, timely, and collaborative manner. An implantable Renal Assist Device (iRAD) being developed by the University of California, San Francisco, and a Hemoaccess Valve System (HVS) designed by Greenville, S.C.-based CreatiVasc Medical were also awarded FDA fast track status.

Recent articles about the WAK

1st U.S. patient discusses Wearable Artificial Kidney trial

First US trial of Wearable Artificial Kidney successful