Hunniwell Lake Ventures || Blog Series
Advances in Dialysis Technology are Allowing Patients Regain their Lost Quality of Life
July 31, 2020 || With the White House’s Executive Order, the increasing severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., and advancing technology, there has been a significant push towards home dialysis in order to combat End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) while still complying with shelter-in-place orders. Many companies have been exploring the potential of home dialysis and, in turn, offering ESRD patients a better quality of life they’ve never fathomed having before.
The Shallow End
- End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is a life-consuming medical diagnosis, requiring 3-4 weekly sessions at 3-4 hours per session at a dialysis center.
- Through the White House’s Executive Order, the COVID-19 pandemic, and advancing technology, there has been a significant push towards home dialysis.
- Many companies are adapting dialysis technologies for home usage, providing patients with an increased quality of life through flexible treatment options.
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The Deep End
Imagine having to sacrifice your social and work life for a chance to live. Imagine losing 12 hours a week for a procedure you had no choice but to receive. Imagine life-altering limitations being forced upon you, affecting your diet, physical activity, and ability to travel for the opportunity to spend another day with your family. Currently, nearly 10% of the world’s population is affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD), with over 2 million individuals worldwide currently receiving treatment through dialysis. Dialysis treatment is truly a life-consuming procedure, dominating many aspects of one’s life in order to duplicate the functionality of the kidney. The procedure drains not only the individuals’ time, but their physical and mental health.
The landscape of dialysis technology is slowly changing, however, as an increasing amount of startups and technological advances are redefining the manner in which dialysis is conducted. The White House’s executive order was enacted to improve the lives of Americans suffering from CKD by attempting to transition 80% of ESRD patients to at-home dialysis by the year 2025. COVID-19’s recent societal push for social distancing has greatly influenced the drive for home dialysis. Dialysis companies throughout the world are pushing for new and innovative solutions to ensure that dialysis can be a safe and effective treatment for patients in their own homes, decreasing intrusion on their daily lives, while efficiently mimicking kidney function.
The transition towards home dialysis will prove life-changing for hundreds of thousands of patients who will be able to regain time and aspects of their social and work life. Take Greg’s story, for examples, as a user of one of the first home dialysis machines. Greg lived an extremely active lifestyle, engaging in running on a frequent basis in order to “deal with outside stress” in his life. Instead of losing his personal freedom through in-center dialysis, Greg found home dialysis; able to dialyze based on his own schedule, Greg maintains a consistent training schedule. In what should have effectively ended his running career, the 65-year-old recently accomplished his goal of running a half marathon. Slowly, but surely dialysis patients throughout the world will be able to reclaim control over their lives, ensuring ESRD is no longer a debilitating diagnosis.
By taking a proactive approach to the failing peritoneum, by retaining the “hope” of home and by avoiding the threat of facility care—the travel, the queues, and the inadequate dialysis—many PD patients who are reaching the end of their PD career could be salvaged to home rather than savaged by facility.
— John Agar, M.D., Conjoint Clinical Professor at Deakin University School of Medicine and Geelong Hospital in Geelong, Australia
Hunniwell Lake Ventures is dedicated to improving the current state of technologies like home dialysis, enabling patients to benefit from the technological advancements in the 21st century. Through our recognition and potential investments, we believe that our role in aiding future technologies will change the lives of individuals everywhere.
Hunniwell Lake Ventures (HLV) is a Palo Alto-based VC firm that invests exclusively in medical devices. Its mission is to make surgery safer, more accessible and less invasive by investing in innovations that help surgeons visualize the operative field better, employ surgical tools using improved and advanced technologies to treat the patient, and ensure their speedy recovery through the best wound closure and tissue healing technologies available.