Waging a high-tech battle with kidney disease in NWI - February 1, 2020

Courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana • Feb 1, 2020

By Marc Chase

Chronic kidney disease affects millions of people world-wide. In the U.S. alone, more than 440,000 patients have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and are surviving on hemodialysis. Methodist Hospitals has invested in new technology that makes the lives of ESRD patients a little easier.

ESRD is the final stage of kidney disease. When patients have ESRD, their kidneys can no longer keep up with the body’s need to remove extra waste and water. Once kidney function goes below 10-15% of normal function, dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant are necessary to sustain life.

In order to administer hemodialysis treatment, clinicians must first establish viable access to the patient’s bloodstream. Most commonly, the access created is called an arteriovenous (AV) fistula, which is a connection between an artery and a vein.

In the past, open surgery has been the only option available. Once an AV fistula is established, blood flow to the vein is increased allowing for a clinician to draw blood from the vein and filter it through a dialysis machine, ultimately to be returned to a patient’s body.

In 2019, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, received FDA approval for the WavelinQ™ 4 French (4F) EndoAVF System — a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery for patients beginning dialysis treatments.

Methodist Hospitals is the first hospital system in Northwest Indiana to invest in this technology. The procedure is performed by Interventional Radiologist Dr. Rajiv Kumar.

“The new technology gives physicians more flexibility in how they create the fistula for hemodialysis and provides patients with a non-surgical option and no scarring,” said Dr. Kumar.

In a traditional AVF procedure, the fistula is created by making a surgical incision, moving the vein and artery from adjacent tissues and stitching together the vein and artery in the arm.

In contrast, the WavelinQ™ EndoAVF System uses single-needle access into an artery and vein in the arm and creates a channel between the two without making any surgical incisions. WavelinQ will give patients another opportunity for a lower arm fistula in both arms, thus adding additional opportunities to receive dialysis.

During the procedure, two thin, flexible catheters are inserted under imaging guidance to adjacent blood vessels within the arm, creating a channel between the artery and the vein. The catheters are then removed, and blood begins to flow from the artery into the vein, creating the AV fistula that facilities hemodialysis.

“People living with ESRD are an underserved patient population with very limited treatment options available to them,” said Steve Williamson, worldwide president of Peripheral Intervention at BD, in a recent press release. “We’re excited to add WavelinQ™ 4F EndoAVF System to our portfolio of technologies that create, restore and/or maintain AV access for patients on hemodialysis. Endovascular specialists now have an additional tool that enables the flexibility needed to support AV fistula creation for their patients.”

Patients at Methodist Hospitals are experiencing the benefits of the WavelinQ™ 4F EndoAVF System.

For more information, contact Methodist Hospitals Imaging services, Southlake Campus, 8701 Broadway, Merrillville, IN 46410, 219-738-5565 and at Northlake Campus, 600 Grant Street, Gary, IN, 219-886- 4545. Visit MethodistHospitals.org for additional information.

Dr. Rajiv Kumar, MD, specializes in diagnostic and interventional radiology.  His areas of expertise include vascular interventions, peripheral artery disease, varicose veins, vascular access, dialysis, AV fistula creation and maintenance, minimally invasive oncology therapy and all diagnostic radiology including X-ray, ultrasound , CT and MRI. He prides himself on offering his patients personalized care with open communication to develop a patient-centered plan of care. He is board certified in diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology.