Impedimed device gets breakthrough designation for kidney failure

The company’s bioimpedance spectroscopy device would be used to measure how much fluid should be removed from a patient during dialysis. 

The Food and Drug Administration granted breakthrough device designation to Impedimed’s Sozo device for kidney failure. The company’s bioimpedance spectroscopy device uses a mild electrical current to measure users’ body composition, and in this case, it would be used to come up with a more precise measurement for how much fluid should be removed during dialysis.

The current standard of care is simply to measure changes in weight between appointments. But this is a crude tool, and can miss other causes for weight fluctuations. For example, some patients with chronic kidney disease develop protein energy wasting, where they’re losing muscle mass but retaining fluid. Removing too much fluid or too little fluid can be bad for patients.

“They’re looking for a fast, highly accurate, reliable way of knowing how much fluid to remove off that patient every session,” Impedimed CEO Rick Carreon said in an interview.“…Your ability to remove fluid at a lower rate in a more precise manner can extend lives and improve outcomes, and benefit patients over time,” he said.

The FDA’s Breakthrough Device Designation is reserved for devices that could provide more effective treatment for life-threatening or debilitation conditions. It would allow Impedimed to work closely with the agency for a speedier review.

The company had been planning to seek breakthrough designation for some time, Carreon said. Its device has already gotten a CE mark in Europe for managing patients with renal failure.

Impedimed has four other clearances with the FDA, including using its device to detect lymphedema in cancer patients. 

In the future, Carreon said he hopes to see the tool expand beyond a clinical assessment to a broader digital health platform, bringing this information into dialysis clinics’ electronic health records. For example, they could compare the performance of one clinic to another, and see if they are getting better outcomes, or if more services are needed, such as nutrition counseling.

“If you can see one clinic that’s more successful, and learn from them, that’s where we see population health and dialysis really start to compound,” he said.

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