Tucson man one of first in Arizona to undergo new dialysis prep

Non-surgical dialysis procedure available

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Luis Alvarez and his wife have been married for more than 50 years.

“She’s the boss,” said Alvarez.

They have built a family in those 50 years. They have seven grand children and four great-grandchildren.

“I love my family, starting with my precious, gorgeous wife,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez will be 74 in just a few days and getting older comes with some health concerns. His kidneys are 50 percent functional.

“I’ve got to kind of prepare for dialysis,” said Alvarez.

He calls dialysis, something he’s seen his siblings go through, “a real pain in the behind.”

However, getting ready for dialysis is a little easier thanks to some new technology.

Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital is one of the first in Arizona to offer a non-surgical way for patients to get ready for dialysis.

In 2018, the FDA approved the WavelinQ 6F EndoAVF system, which can fuse an artery and vein together without a surgical incision. A catheter is put into the vein and artery, and magnets snap the two together. Patients undergoing dialysis need a fistula like this so blood can circulate through the dialysis machine.

Alvarez is one of the first patients to have it done in Arizona after FDA approval.

“I guess I’m somewhat of a Guinea pig,” said Alvarez.

Clinical trials were done in Phoenix. There are other procedures that can create a fistula without a surgical incision.

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