Overlook Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, is using WavelinQ, a device that offers a new, non-surgical way to prepare patients for the dreaded dialysis.
WavelinQ uses radio frequency (RF) to form a connection between a vein and artery, known as a fistula. This is a vital step in dialysis treatment for patients that otherwise requires surgery.
The device was developed by BD Bard, and the endo-arteriovenous fistula (AVF) marks a huge advancement in fistula creation.
A fistula provides access to the blood stream so blood can be removed from the body and cleansed in a hemodialysis machine. This blood is then returned to the body for patients undergoing kidney failure.
Until now, there have been three traditional methods of dialysis treatment. This includes inserting an external catheter near the heart, connecting an artificial tube or shunt between the artery and vein, or connecting an artery and vein directly during open surgery.
WavelinQ mitigates the need for open surgery by instead fusing the artery and vein with a burst of RF energy to create a connection between blood vessels. This procedure happens by inserting two thin, flexible, magnetic catheters into an artery and vein in the arm through a small incision, which is much less noticeable than traditional methods of surgery.
The device has been used on two patients this year. Scott Sundick, MD, an endovascular surgeon at Overlook, used WavelinQ to create fistulas in both patients, and the individuals have experienced positive results. Overlook will continue to monitor their health and progression.
“We are excited to be able to offer a new option for our patients seeking dialysis treatment,” Sundick said. “We strive to minimize the amount of surgery for our patients and get them back to their normal lives as quickly as possible and this procedure offers a great step toward that goal.”