New Liver Disease Medical Device May Help Cut Number of Transplants

Royal Free Hospital in London is conducting a trial of a new medical device to treat liver disease on a group of patients with severe alcohol-related liver failure.  Results have already shown that that patients’ liver damage can be reversed, which can dramatically improve a patient’s quality of life.  The new device, called an alfapump, is manufactured by the Swiss medical device company Sequana Medical and may radically change the treatment options for patients with severe liver disease in the future.

Liver disease impacts the functioning of a patient’s kidneys and liver.  As a result, excess fluid can gather in the abdomen.  The excess fluid which builds up in the abdomen as a result cannot be removed naturally.  Currently, many patients suffering from liver disease have to make weekly or monthly trips to the hospital to have the fluid drained.

The new alfapump helps allow the liver time to recover and may prevent further injury to the liver.  The pump is the size of two matchboxes is implanted under the skin.  It pumps excess fluid out of the abdomen and into the bladder.  The fluid is then removed naturally when the patients go to the bathroom.  The pump controls the debilitating symptoms of liver failure and, if the patient abstains from consuming alcohol, the pump can allow the liver to partially recover.

The pump removes about 10 to 15 ml of fluid from the abdomen every 15 minutes.  Patients need to recharge the battery for the device on a daily basis, which takes approximately 15 minutes per day.

The new technology and the study at Royal Free Hospital are very important steps forward in the medical industry.  The results of the study will be closely watched by device manufacturers and others in the medical field since this device has the potential to dramatically change the standard of care and treatment options for patients with liver damage around the world.

In addition, as we mentioned in a blog post in August, since the FDA has recently released new guidelines for the oversight of clinical trials, Sequana Medical may find those recommendations helpful in developing and implementing its clinical studies regarding the alfapump.  More information regarding the new FDA guidelines is available, click here.  More information regarding the new alfapump is available, click here.

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