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The kidneys clean toxins out of the blood. They filter about 150 liters of blood per day and produce approximately one liter of urine. Renal failure occurs when the kidney filtration rate drops to 15% or less.
The patient must receive a transplant or begin dialysis. There is a huge need for accessible renal replacement therapy. In countries such as India and Pakistan, barely 10% of those in need, have access to the lifesaving treatment.
Inspired by this real world issue, I have focused on building a simple and highly affordable dialysis machine designed for use in the developing world. In order for anyone in need to benefit from the treatment, I sought to reduce the cost of the machine. Such a device has the potential to help make this lifesaving treatment accessible in impoverished countries. The average home-hemodialysis machine typically costs $25,000, whereas this new version costs less than $500 to produce.
The prototype is designed following the steps of the hemodialysis process, a standard method of filtering blood, that uses an external machine acting as an artificial kidney. The blood is pumped, in a continuous circuit, from the body into the dialysis machine where it is filtered and then returned to the patient. It can be disassembled by almost anyone, since all parts are exposed, to enable quick repair. Also, its small size makes it easily transportable to sites where a natural disaster has taken place. After an earthquake occurs, for example, cases of acute renal failure resulting from crush injuries are frequent. This condition is not permanent and with proper treatment, it can be cured. My prototype is innovative because it is over fifty times cheaper than an existing medical grade device, while performing virtually the same task as a standard hemodialysis machine.
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