Dr, John F. Lucas III

Dr. John F. Lucas III, right, and certified surgical technologist Briana Reed operate on a patient using a new medical device to help those with kidney failure at Greenwood Leflore Hospital on Friday.

A surgeon at Greenwood Leflore Hospital recently performed the very first procedure with a new innovative technique to help patients with kidney failure.

On Friday, Dr. John F. Lucas III operated on a patient using an InnAVasc Arteriovenous Graft implant, a newly developed looped plastic tube that connects an artery to a vein.

Patients with kidney failure need to have their blood cleaned three times a week with a dialysis machine. In order for the blood to be cleaned properly, it needs to be flowing at over a pint a minute.

In preparation for this, either a vein and an artery are sewn directly together, or a tube is placed under the skin and sewn directly to an artery at one end and a vein at the other.

During dialysis, two needles are placed into the vein or tube — one to draw the blood out and filter it through the machine and the other to return the clean blood back to the patient.

When the patient does not have a sufficiently large vein, a tube is placed beneath the skin.

Lucas said this type of graft has been specially modified to contain pods that are protected by back plates that are resistant to dialysis needle puncture on the side and back walls and keep the needle in its intended location during hemodialysis treatments.

They also have a self-sealing material specifically engineered for needle sticks, which greatly reduces bleeding when the needles are removed.

These pods ease the fear of accidental needle injury and provide safer and easier access for home hemodialysis. The pods are designed to be easy to identify by the raised edges to ensure proper placement and rotation of stick sites during treatment, Lucas said.

“We were the first in the country to participate in trial of this redesigned graft. … And we’re just proud that we’re at the forefront of dialysis access research,” he said.

He said the implementation of the device did not require extensive additional training as it follows steps similar to traditional surgery.

“The implantation techniques are only a little different than the standard grafts, which I have put in close to a thousand over the course of my career,” the vascular surgeon said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will use the trial at the Greenwood hospital to gather information and see whether this new procedure is applicable for general use. Lucas said more patients will be enrolled to help collect additional data.

“Greenwood has really nice facilities here for taking care of all aspects of dialysis. … And I think we’re just real proud that when they talk about places that they’re doing research we are mentioned in the same breath as Harvard, Baylor, Washington University, St. Louis and other places,” Lucas said.

Contact Adam Bakst at 581-7233 or abakst@gwcommonwealth.com. On Twitter at @AdamBakst_GWCW.

(1) comment

Old Buffalo

Congratulations John! You and your team are doing great things for the people of Greenwood and the country. Keep up the good work!

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