Alegent Creighton Health offers Aquadex aquapheresis, a treatment option for heart failure and other conditions that can cause fluid to build up in the body.
The aquapherisis system is about the size of an IV monitor. It removes excess fluid quickly and effectively using a process called ultrafiltration.
How it Works
A special catheter is placed in the bloodstream that continuously runs the patient's blood through a filter. Excess fluid is removed from the blood through this filter and the blood is returned to the patient. Up to half a liter an hour of extra fluid can be precisely removed from the body in this way, yet the patient can be mobile, if he wishes.
Why it is Used
When a patient has heart failure, the heart does not pump properly. As a result, fluid can build up in the lungs, causing shortness of breath, swelling of the arms and legs, low blood pressure, and a lack of blood flow to other organs, such as the kidneys. Up until now, diuretics were the most common treatment for heart failure, but adjusting their dosage can result in longer hospitalizations, or complications such as overdiuresis, which can lead to low blood pressure, potassium loss and decreased kidney function.
A safe, effective treatment
The results of using this therapy are promising. In a January, 2007 study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, comparing intravenous diuretics or aquapheresis/ultrafiltration. It was concluded that ultrafiltration safely produces greater weight and fluid loss than intravenous diuretics, reduces re-hospitalzations and ER visits and is an effective alternative therapy.