Pediatric Acute Kidney Injury

KIDSCRRT: KIDS Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) is a life-threatening condition that stems from numerous conditions, including sepsis, congenital heart defects, and bone marrow and organ transplantation. The typical treatment for AKI involves the usage of a Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) machine, a device that essentially performs the same filtering functions usually accomplished by a patient’s kidneys.

Matthew Paden, MD
Mathew Paden, MD

While this treatment has been very successful for adult patients, approximately 15,000 pediatric intensive care unit patients require CRRT treatment each year, and current CRRT devices are not FDA-approved for patients weighing under 20kg. This restriction places infants and children into a category without a safe treatment option.

Without a specific option for younger patients, many doctors make the decision to go forward with traditional CRRT machine treatment, which can create complications in pediatric patients. The complication primarily stems from high operational-volume of these machines and the inaccuracies in pumping-volumes. In order to function, the device needs a continuous amount of blood running through it. While for adult patients, the amount required is without consequence, but for a child or infant, the amount of blood needed is not proportional to their smaller body size, which can result in an unacceptably low blood volume in the patient. Although some doctors have implemented the usage of donor blood to fill the machine, this can cause unintended infections, especially in infants whose immune systems are not yet fully developed.

Kidney
Kidney

With these observations in mind, Matthew Paden, MD, from the department of pediatrics at Emory, reached out to Ajit Yoganathan, PhD at Georgia Tech, in hopes of filling the need for a device specialized for younger patients. Along with their team members, the doctors worked to create a device specifically for pediatric usage. Rather than simply creating a small-scale CRRT device, the doctors instead worked to make a treatment with a unique pump-function to avoid the need for a large quantity of blood being withdrawn from the child’s body.

Currently, a team of engineers led by Sivakkumar Arjunon, PhD is working to further improve KIDSCRRT so it will soon be able to be manufactured on a large scale, and will be ready to begin the FDA approval process. “This device offers an innovative solution to provide safer and more effective treatment for pediatric patients requiring the most critical of care,” remarks Cale Lennon, Director Licensing, Emory Office of Technology Transfer. “The consistent evolution of the device to what is now a very mature design is a testament to the R&D team’s commitment to address this important unmet need.”

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