Background: Renal transplantation is the treatment of choice for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, but the shortage of kidneys and the disabling medical conditions these patients suffer from make dialysis essential for most of them. Since dialysis drastically affects the patients’ lifestyle, there are great expectations for the development of wearable artificial kidneys, although their use is currently impeded by major concerns about safety. On the other hand, dialysis patients with hemodynamic instability do not usually tolerate intermittent dialysis therapy because of their inability to adapt to a changing scenario of unforeseen events. Thus, the development of novel wearable dialysis devices and the improvement of clinical tolerance will need contributions from new branches of engineering such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for the real-time analysis of equipment alarms, dialysis parameters, and patient-related data with a real-time feedback response. These technologies are endowed with abilities normally associated with human intelligence such as learning, problem solving, human speech understanding, or planning and decision-making. Examples of common applications of AI are visual perception (computer vision), speech recognition, and language translation. In this review, we discuss recent progresses in the area of dialysis and challenges for the use of AI in the development of artificial kidneys.
Summary and key messages: Emerging technologies derived from AI, ML, electronics, and robotics will offer great opportunities for dialysis therapy, but much innovation is needed before we achieve a smart dialysis machine able to analyze and understand changes in patient homeostasis and to respond appropriately in real time. Great efforts are being made in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to provide alternative cell-based approaches for the treatment of renal failure, including bioartificial renal systems and the implantation of bioengineered kidney constructs.
Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Artificial kidney; Hemodialysis; Machine learning.
Article source: Hueso M, Navarro E, Sandoval D, Cruzado JM. Progress in the Development and Challenges for the Use of Artificial Kidneys and Wearable Dialysis Devices. Kidney Dis (Basel). 2019 Feb;5(1):3-10. doi: 10.1159/000492932. Epub 2018 Oct 10. PMID: 30815458; PMCID: PMC6388440.