People with advanced heart failure can accumulate fluid in their bodies which can lead to many problems. Most common of those are: breathlessness due to fluid in the lungs and difficulty walking due to fluid in the legs. When these symptoms can’t be controlled, hospitalisation is often the only option – despite being expensive and often upsetting for patients.
The team has spoken to more than 50 clinicians and nurses closely involved in the care of patients with these problems, and found that many are dissatisfied with existing treatments. This is not surprising as evidence shows that the outcomes of patients hospitalised with decompensated heart failure remain poor: 44% are readmitted within six months [Bart, 2009].
Renephra believes there is a need for a cost-effective treatment that can be delivered in a community setting for these patients. The company has developed a novel medical device that can remove excess fluid from the body in a gentle way and be self-administered by patients at home.
Renephra estimates that the worldwide heart failure fluid overload market is ~£967 million and set for growth given heart failure rates are projected to rise by 50% over the next 25 years. This is due to an aging population and rising prevalence of diabetes and hypertension.
Another potential application for Renephra’s device is chronic peripheral oedema, which is a debilitating condition and develops as result of deranged local lymphatic or venous drainage. The company estimates that it affects millions of people globally, leading to poor quality of life, immobility, wounds and ulcers, infections, frequent hospital admissions and high costs of care [Moffatt and Pinnington, 2012].
Existing treatments to reduce the peripheral oedema comprise daily physiotherapy sessions and compression bandaging for several weeks, which is inconvenient and expensive, and is unsuitable for those with complex cases of the illness. Renephra’s is looking to provide an at-home, minimally invasive solution.
92% of healthcare professionals said that they are interested in using the Renephra device.