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New study to predict low blood pressure during dialysis

11 June 2021

We’ve awarded a grant to a team of researchers from the University of Nottingham, the University of Derby and the Royal Derby Hospital to tackle the sudden drop in blood pressure some patients experience during haemodialysis using novel pressure sensors on the dialysis tubing.

A sudden drop in blood pressure during dialysis can be dangerous

People with kidney failure rely on dialysis to keep them alive. Haemodialysis is the most common dialysis method, and it involves pumping the blood into a dialysis machine, where it is filtered and cleaned before being returned to the body. Most patients receive dialysis treatment three times a week for four hours each time.

During treatment, some patients experience a sudden drop in their blood pressure, which can cause unpleasant symptoms such as muscle cramps, light-headedness, fainting, sweating and sickness. These episodes of low blood pressure also affect the heart’s ability to pump blood to other important organs.

At the moment a patient’s blood pressure is only measured intermittently during dialysis using a standard blood pressure machine, so low blood pressure is usually only detected after symptoms have already developed.

A novel way to monitor blood pressure

Working with Professor Paul Stewart’s team at the University of Derby and researchers at the Royal Derby Hospital, Professors Nicholas Selby and Maarten Taal and their teams at the University of Nottingham aim to tackle this problem by using a new method to monitor blood pressure continuously during haemodialysis treatment. We awarded the team a project grant of £234,155, in partnership with The Stoneygate Trust.

The team will use pressure sensors placed on the plastic tubing of the dialysis machinery that pumps the blood out of and back into the patient. If it works, this new technology could help doctors predict a sudden drop in blood pressure, allowing them to take action straight away and stop people suffering side effects that affect their long-term health.

Find out more

Read more about our newly funded research.

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