ST. LOUIS - More than 460,000 people in the U.S. are living with End-Stage Renal Disease, the most severe form of chronic kidney disease. A brand-new option is now available for patients suffering from kidney disease. It’s the first innovative breakthrough for patients who require dialysis treatment in 50 years.
SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital is the first hospital in the Midwest to offer a new, minimally invasive procedure to establish vascular access for patients suffering from kidney disease who require dialysis treatment. The procedure, known as WavelinQ™ (Wave-link) is the first innovative breakthrough in creating arteriovenous fistula (AVF), rather than a surgical fistula.
WavelinQ™ has reduced recovery time in half, allowing patients to go home the same day and start dialysis treatment sooner. It has also reduced infection rates and lowered the risk for painful inflammation.
Dr. Alejandro Alvarez, who helped to pioneer this new procedure and offers one of two training sites in the country at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital. “It’s going to have a big impact on our patients by reducing the risk of catheters, infection and even future procedures, as well as increasing recovery time so they can begin dialysis treatment faster.”
The new, minimally invasive WavelinQ™ procedure offers the same benefits as surgery as well as lower infection rates, plus lower the cost of delivery, without the painful inflammation and long recovery. In most cases, patients are able to go home and return to normal activity the next day. Furthermore, the time from fistula creation to first use for dialysis treatment is usually six weeks or less.
Surgical fistula creation has been the preferred technique for these patients. However, the surgery causes painful swelling that can last for weeks. Additionally, it increases the chances of a hospital stay, and the national average from creation to first use is 12 weeks.
“Our patients go through so much – they are tied to a dialysis machine three days a week – they deserve an alternative, more advanced option,” says Dr. Alvarez, MD. “As physicians and leaders in the community, it is our job to try to bring access to these kinds of procedures to our patients and to continue learning and innovating. We are proud to be one of the first hospitals in the area to offer the WavelinQ™ procedure.”
For more information about WavelinQ, click here.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.