University of Derby

Improving kidney dialysis treatment

A Derby-based project to personalise kidney dialysis could improve the lives of thousands of people worldwide who are dependent on the treatment. A collaboration between the University of Derby, the Royal Derby Hospital and the University of Nottingham, the iTrend project aims to predict a patient’s blood pressure level so that their dialysis treatment can be tailored to ensure it does not cause negative long-term physical effects. The project, funded by the MStart Trust, a Derby-based charity, is being led by Professor Paul Stewart, Research Chair in Intelligent Systems at the University of Derby, and Professor Maarten Taal and Dr Nick Selby, consultant nephrologists at the Department of Renal Medicine at the Royal Derby Hospital and the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine.

The Royal Derby Hospital is running a study involving 50 patients, collecting real-time blood pressure and other physical data while patients undergo dialysis, which can take up to four hours. Analysis of this data has led to the identification of physiological “fingerprints”. These fingerprints will help to personalise the treatment, and, it is believed, could have applications for the wider population too.

The University of Derby has also created a unique experimental synthetic dialysis patient – nicknamed Steve - to prototype a cheap, non-invasive and accurate method of continuously measuring blood pressure. The team is now applying for a patient-study approval.