Make home hemodialysis possible using Aquaporin Inside® Forward Osmosis modules in your machines

To improve quality of life for hemodialysis patients, home dialysis treatment needs to be enhanced and uptake increased. This requires lowering the technical barriers to home treatment. Aquaporin Inside® Forward Osmosis modules are part of the solution. By adding them to your home hemodialysis machines, you can reduce equipment size and complexity – paving the way for portable machines – while also delivering a greener solution that significantly reduces water use.

Today, only a small percentage of dialysis patients undergo dialysis treatment at home. The rest receive treatment in center, which requires that that they travel to and from the center a number of times each week. This significantly reduces patients' quality of life and, as patient populations grow, puts an increasing strain on hospitals and treatment centers. There is therefore a clear requirement from patients, healthcare providers and governments to significantly increase the uptake of home hemodialysis treatment.

However, there are technical barriers to increasing home dialysis treatment, from the size and complexity of the machines to the length of training required by patients and their caregiver. One solution is to integrate Aquaporin Inside® Forward Osmosis (FO) modules into existing home dialysis machines. By utilizing our FO modules, you can increase the portability and simplicity of home dialysis water treatment systems, allowing for a less complex and physically demanding treatment, which will make home dialysis a more appealing solution for many patients.

The benefits of using Aquaporin Inside® FO modules in home dialysis machine designs:

How does the solution work?

The below graphic shows how the dialysis work today compared with how it works when adding an Aquaporin Inside® FO module to existing home dialysis machines to reduce size, complexity and water use.

The hemodialysis process requires highly pure water to ensure patient safety. This means that the patient needs a reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment system at home to purify the tap water used to dilute the sodium bicarbonate and concentrated dialysate.

Option 1: Replace the existing RO water treatment system with FO

In this option, the existing RO treatment system is replaced with an Aquaporin Inside® FO module, which uses forward osmosis and our highly efficient purification membranes to clean the tap water when it enters the system.

Very compact and highly energy efficient, an Aquaporin Inside® FO module significantly reduces the size and energy use of the water treatment system, making the entire machine smaller, lighter and more portable. In addition, our novel Aquaporin Inside® FO membranes have exceptionally high rejection rates, which can lower the amount of tap water needed to produce 1 liter of pure water by 40% compared to conventional RO systems.

Option 2: Replace the existing RO water treatment system with FO and re-use water from the spent dialysate fluid

As in the option above, in this option the existing RO treatment system is replaced with an Aquaporin® Inside FO module. In addition, pure water is separated from the spent dialysis fluid and re-circulated back into the system for reuse, cutting water use by as much as 85%. How does this work?

In conventional home hemodialysis machines, the cleaned tap water is used to dilute the concentrated dialysate and sodium bicarbonate. These then enter the dialyzer and the treatment cycle. The spent dialysate fluid, containing all the waste compounds from the patient, is sent directly to the drain. In option 2, the water from the spent dialysate fluid is separated from the contaminants and reused to dilute the concentrated dialysate.

The Aquaporin Inside® FO module contains hollow fiber water treatment membranes. On the outside of these membranes is the concentrated dialysate. When the spent dialysate fluid passes through the hollow fibers, osmotic pressure draws the water out of the spent dialysate fluid and across the membranes. All contaminants are left behind. The clean water dilutes the concentrated dialysate, which is then sent to the dialyzer. This ensures efficient re-use of water within the system, significantly reducing the amount of water sent to the drain.

The Aquaporin Inside® FO module’s exceptionally high rejection capabilities ensure all contaminants are rejected. Only pure water is used to dilute the concentrated dialysate; all waste compounds are rejected with the spent dialysate concentrate.

What is forward osmosis?

Like reverse osmosis (RO), forward osmosis (FO) uses a semi-permeable membrane to separate water from contaminants. Unlike RO, which uses hydraulic pressure to force the water across the membrane, FO uses osmotic pressure to naturally ‘draw’ water across the membrane. This osmotic pressure is created by placing a ‘draw solution’ of a high concentration on one side of the membrane. When a liquid containing contaminants (known as a feed solution) is introduced to the FO system, clean water is drawn from the feed solution across the membrane, leaving the contaminants behind. The draw solution becomes diluted and feed solution becomes concentrated.
The draw solution can consist of a simple salt/water mix or a substance specifically tailored for the application, for example concentrated dialysate.

Find out more

If you’d like to know more about how Aquaporin Inside® Forward Osmosis membranes could make your home dialysis machines more portable, please sign up for a meeting with Esben Gad, Vice President of Business Development at Aquaporin by clicking here.