Overlook Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, recently became the first hospital in New Jersey to use the WavelinQ, a device that offers a new, non-surgical way to prepare patients for dialysis.
The WavelinQ uses radio frequency (RF), to create the connection between a vein and artery, called a fistula, which is an important step in dialysis treatment for patients. Developed by BD Bard, this endo-AVF (arteriovenous fistula) procedure marks the first major advancement in fistula creation in the last 50 years.
“Overlook Medical Center strives to remain at the forefront of patient care,” said Clifford Sales, MD, chief of vascular surgery at Overlook. “The highly-skilled vascular team and state-of-the-art vascular lab make Overlook the perfect choice to pioneer this new procedure.”
A fistula provides for access to the blood stream so that blood may be removed from the body, cleansed in a hemodialysis machine and returned to the body for patients experiencing kidney failure.
Until now, there have been three traditional methods of treatment – inserting an external catheter near the heart; connecting an artificial tube, or shunt, between the artery and vein; and connecting an artery and vein directly via open surgery.
The WavelinQ replaces the need for open surgery to create the fistula, by effectively fusing the artery and vein using a burst of RF energy to create the connection between the blood vessels. The procedure is performed by inserting two thin, flexible, magnetic catheters into an artery and vein in the arm through a small puncture or incision which is far smaller than traditional surgery.
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at Overlook and initial results are promising.
Scott Sundick, MD, an endovascular surgeon at Overlook, used the WavelinQ to create fistulas in two patients in mid-January. Both patients have thus far experienced positive results, and Overlook will continue to monitor their progress as the fistulas develop.
“We are excited to be able to offer a new option for our patients seeking dialysis treatment,” Sundick said. “We strive to minimize the amount of surgery for our patients and get them back to their normal lives as quickly as possible and this procedure offers a great step toward that goal.”