The most common reason adults are admitted to the hospital is for heart failure. And one of the symptoms they're often dealing with is fluid. Now, a Sioux City hospital has a way to get that fluid off the body in a more controlled manner.
This is the Aquapheresis machine. It's the new way for doctors at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center to remove extra fluid from a patient's body. "The fluid can back up into your organs and to your lungs, make it difficult for you to breathe, and it can actually make it hard for your heart to do its job," said Dr. Jeffrey Sykes. Until now, diuretic medication was the treatment of choice. "Makes your kidneys work better and essentially makes you increase your output of urine," said Dr. Sykes. But that can't always be controlled. And sometimes patients build up a tolerance to the medication.
But now there's this. "It's much more effective at removing the fluid, and we can actually remove a given amount of fluid per unit time. It's much more regulated and controlled. We can actually determine how much fluid you want to move," said Dr. Sykes. It's called Aquapheresis. And here's how it works. "You take blood our from the patient's body. You send it through a filter at certain degree of pressure. That filter has tiny holes in it that let certain things come through," said Dr. Jarold Erlandson. That means the good part of the blood, the red blood cells and proteins, goes back inside the patient, while just the bad fluid is removed into a bag. And it's removed at a pace that won't endanger your kidneys. "This machine, you can take off liters of fluid within hours," said Dr. Erlandson. A fast, and efficient way to help patients with heart failure get rid of unnecessary fluid.
Patients who have Aquapheresis may have to spend the night in the hospital. They usually only need the procedure once. After that the condition can often be maintained with medication.
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