Funding research to transform treatments
With thanks to the enormous generosity of the Solomon family, we are delighted to have awarded two research project grants in the Lady Judith Solomon award round. These projects will look to address one of our strategic priorities- transforming treatments, by reducing the fear and anxiety associated with dialysis, making it kinder and more tolerable, and improving patient outcomes.
Dr Ben Reynolds, Royal Hospital for children in Glasgow
Kidney patients that need dialysis are usually offered peritoneal dialysis, in-centre dialysis, or home dialysis options. The option to undertake home dialysis is being offered more to patients, however, the uptake is low. Home dialysis usually shifts the responsibility of care more to the patients and carers and this sometimes increases fear and anxiety about administering dialysis at home. To allay these fears and anxiety, Dr Ben Reynolds will work with virtual reality (VR) experts and clinicians to develop a VR application that will simulate the experience of setting up and delivering dialysis at home.
In addition to the in-person training that hospitals offer, the developed VR application will help to better educate patients and carers about the home dialysis process through visual, auditory and tactile experience, so they can make better informed decisions on the dialysis option they choose.
It is hoped that through this experience, patients' anxiety and fear can be alleviated, increasing the uptake of home dialysis, which in turn reduces the duration of admission or number of outpatient clinics that patients must attend.
Dr Yongmann Chung, University of Warwick
To administer dialysis, arteriovenous (AV) fistulae are made as a passage through which blood can flow out to be filtered and clean blood can be passed back to the patients. With an average lifespan of five years, ultimately, all AV fistulae will fail. This can cause disruption to dialysis and requires operation to create a new AV fistula, causing anxiety, and physical and mental stress on the patient.
Dr Yongmann Chung, and colleagues, plan to embark on a journey to develop a new health monitoring system involving ultrasound imaging of AV fistula to ensure they are still functioning optimally. This ultrasound scan will be done on dialysis patients in Royal Berkshire Hospital during their regular dialysis visits. In addition to ultrasound scanning, Yongmann and his team will create a 3D fistula imaging model for each patient, to observe and better understand the dynamics of blood flow in the AV fistula.
It is hoped that this research will help detect signs of fistula failure before it happens, so that early interventions can be made. This will hopefully ease physical and emotional burden on dialysis patients and improve the outcome of fistula dialysis.
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